Teddy, who wakes up the morning after his wedding to discover that every few minutes he’s jumping forward to the next year of his life.
Cast: Rafe Spall, Zahra Newman, Ronny Chieng, Dena Kaplan, Noni Hazlehurst
Directors: Josh Lawson
Writers: Josh Lawson
About thirty minutes into Long Story Short, Teddy (Rafe Spall) attempts to explain to his best friend Sam (Ronny Chieng) the weird situation he’s found himself stuck-in. Teddy explains that every few minutes in his time, he travels exactly one-year into the future. Of course, Sam laughs this off as it’s a ridiculous concept. But to help his friend he does attempt to draw a line between Teddy’s situation and the classic Bill Murray film, Groundhog Dog. Which is fair enough, it’s about as close as a pop culture reference as you could make for what Teddy was explaining.
Teddy is a good guy, but he’s in no rush to do anything in his life. He’s engaged to Leanne (Zahra Newman) but cannot set a date for his wedding. “I’ll do it later” seems to be his catchphrase. However, a chance encounter with a strange lady pushes him to set a date, and a couple of weeks later, Teddy and Leanne are married following a beautiful wedding.
Following their wedding, Teddy and Leanne enter their brand new home and begin planning how to set up their home; what colour to paint the walls, and the potential places they could head for a honeymoon. Things take a turn for the weird when Teddy wakes the following morning as it seems Leanne has been super-busy. The house has been set-up, there’s an impossible amount of decorating been completed, but most shockingly, Leanne is pregnant. Teddy discovers it’s precisely one year later, his first wedding anniversary and after a few minutes of freaking out it happens again — it’s his second wedding anniversary.
Although there’s an obvious Groundhog Day inspiration, Long Story Short is a unique take on the time-loop concept. Because time is moving around Teddy, the film’s events feel like a really long day for him. There’s even a joke in the movies later half about him not going to the toilet for years. The first half of the film felt like it could have been a play as Teddy’s house changes around him, and Leanne and Sam grow as people, but for Teddy, it’s like a nightmare morning of twenty minutes at this point. Teddy moves from one end of the house in conversation with one-person to be thrust forward another year and must attempt to line-up the pieces of his life.
The film has a small cast, and Long Story Short rides on their performances, ranging from funny, manic to straight-up heartbreaking. Rafe Spall gives a fantastic performance as Teddy, a very likeable lead that is understandably having the worst day — or years — of his life. Zahra Newman is also an instantly lovable character, and you fall for the pair’s romance very quickly. Surprisingly, Ronny Chieng has one of the film’s most heartbreaking scenes, and I could hear the entire cinema try and keep their tears in for that one.