Directed by: #GabrielBrown
Written by: #GabrielBrown
Starring: #RobbieFallon, #SarahBulmer
Film Review by: Emily Davison
An encounter with some potential new friends gives an isolated young man the chance to get more out of life as he tries to break away from his controlling brother and a traumatic past.
Finding Your True Self (2022) is a slice of life drama/romance feature, shot in Newcastle and it received its premiere in the latter half of January. The film has already gained glowing reviews from its reception at film festivals, being nominated for various awards and winning for Best Feature Script at the Calcutta International Cult Film Festival; Best Drama and Best First Time Director at the Falcon International Film Festival.
The movie opens strongly with establishing shots of our central location in Newcastle and we are introduced to our protagonist, young James (Fallon), who lives an isolated life with his overbearing brother, Charlie (Shepsi Haider). Through brief flashbacks, we discover that the brothers are orphans and James was adopted by an abusive couple. When he meets outgoing, fun loving best friends Rosalind (Bulmer) and Dave (Anthony Ford), he sees an opportunity to make new friends, despite Charlie’s constant pessimism.
The film’s cinematography is vibrant and inviting, giving a crisp professional quality to the visuals and the on location shooting is taken full advantage of, with some lovely shots of the Tyne bridge with fast motion photography. The city feels alive and lived in and the vivid colours contrast with internal locations during conversations between cast members. There is a memorable, intense argument between the brothers in their claustrophobic apartment where the lighting is bleak and heavily contrasts with a sweet, warmly lit scene between James and Rosalind, where they open up to each other about their darkest secrets.
The blossoming tender romance between James and Rosalind is the heart of the film, with an endearing central performance from Robbie in his first feature film role. He is completely believable as the quiet, introverted James and works well with all his co-stars. The excellent screenplay is emotive and not afraid to explore dark themes of child abuse and PTSD, with a chilling scene during James’ doctor appointment, where something shocking about his family is revealed. This twist is cleverly alluded to by a line spoken earlier in the film and really enhances the entertainment factor going forward, as we see what this means for James and his romance with Rosalind.
The film is true to the ups and downs of life, with a liberating and hopeful ending for James and a positive look to the future. The characters are easy to identify with, especially for young adults going through different stages of their lives and being able to come together to form bonds. The movie is also original and admirable for its location in the North East of England, which is not often focused on and highlights the filmmaking talents that this area has to offer.
Overall, Finding Your True Self is a heartfelt, tender narrative brought to life by compelling direction and strong performances from all around, especially by the talented Robbie Fallon. Go give this gem a bit of love!
Finding Your True Self (2022) trailer: