Modern romance explored in ‘Happy Misery’
Despite being a short film, a good deal transpires during the course of Happy Misery, a home-grown independent production filmed on location in Charlotte.
Directed by Quinton QWill Littlejohn and written by Adrienne Jones, Happy Misery stars Jon Blaq as Bell, a bachelor who’s about to pop the question to his girlfriend Margo (Nakesha Brown-Graves). But, as he confides to his best friend Mason (Jae Blacc), that doesn’t mean he’s going to stop seeing girlfriend Jill (Paris Lowery) on the sly.
As far as Bell is concerned, he knows all the angles of a romantic relationship – which he confidently and casually explains to Mason. But Mason, who is married to Margo’s best friend Sabrina (Dona Guy), has his own opinions and attitudes regarding modern romance.
In the course of the film, which runs 12½ minutes, each couple’s relationship is rocked to the core and each character is forced to re-examine his or her own priorities. The open ending of the short portends that we’ve not seen the last of these characters, that there’s more for them to deal with – both with each other and within themselves.
What becomes clear by the end of the film is that the characters truly don’t know each other. They’re not able to make themselves happy, nor are they able to make their partners happy – hence the title. The film can be viewed on YouTube.
“The inspiration came from several conversations with different people I’ve crossed paths with over the years,” Jones said, who also appears in the film. “During these conversations, I’ve noticed a similarity in which many of them were content in unhappy situations.” Whether it was a relationship or work-related, many people chose to make the best of their situation rather than try to change it, Jones said. Jones said she found this very interesting and wanted to create something that would start a conversation.
“Not being honest with yourself and your partner about your idea of happiness will inevitably cause chaos,” she said. “The characters are both loosely inspired by people I know and are also essentially “every-person” – whom pretty much anyone can identify with,” she explains. “These are people anyone could come across in everyday life. I wanted to show that our hearts and feelings are not only tied to our partners but also to our friends.”
Her opinion was shared by Blaq, who also produced the film. “She and I had been discussing her writing and decided when she came up with the concept of Happy Misery to get with some friends and make it and see how it would turn out,” he said. “A lot of it was just to see if we could create something just for the sake of being creative, then we thought it would be pretty cool if we could maybe take it to film festivals, and it’s grown from there. I became the producer of the film based on my relationships with other actors and being able to help connect the dots to bring everybody together.”
Jones said she is very pleased with how the film turned out. “Quinton really brought my story to life and stayed true to what I envisioned,” she said. “We wanted to keep the concept simple and focus on the characters. The season of autumn represents change and symbolizes a time of self-reflection.”
Jones said she wanted to thank the entire cast and team involved.
“It is our hope that people connect with the story and characters, and follow us as we continue to develop the project,” she said.
Indeed, Happy Misery could exist as a stand-alone film, be adapted into a feature format, or act as a pilot for an ongoing web series.
“The first film is Part One,” Blaq said. “There is a Part Two in the works, and we are discussing the future of the project beyond that at the moment. Everybody really came together and worked hard to make it happen.”
The official Facebook page for Happy Misery is @HappyMiseryMovie.
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