is actor Toby Stephens’ debut as a writer / director. It is a powerful story from the male perspective of a couple torn apart by infertility and has recently been launched to great acclaim on international platform We Are Colony.
Starring Rupert Penry Jones, Anna Louise Plowman and Stephanie Leonidas
In Vitro is a quiet but unnerving drama that unravels the emotion with poignancy and heartache. Absorbing yet tender, angered but filled with sorrow, this will engage you from its beginning to its ultimate viscerally chaotic end .. It’s rich in its emotion that subtly comes unravelling … In Vitro is heart-wrenching but never preaching. Absorbing you into the midst of this modern day misfortune, the short film utterly compels you. Very few actors can make the transition from in front of the camera to behind but Stephens accomplishes it with ease, seemingly. With sublime imagery, the closing one particularly painful, Stephens can enhance the film with sharp astute direction and guide the cinematography. There is also the ongoing theme of isolation during the process of artificial means of conception, and how constantly trying clinical procedures can strip you away from your love and passions. Extremely well done, this is a short film that will hurt you in your soul.
We watch a lot of short films here at ScreenRelish. Some are good, some not so much. IN VITRO, I have to say, is one of the best short films I have seen in ages, maybe ever. We follow the disjointed story of a man (Rupert Penry-Jones) torn between his wife’s (Anna-Louise Plowman) doomed fertility attempts and his mistress’s (Stephanie Leonidas) immaturity. He is filled with anguish over losing his baby that he feels he can’t speak about because his wife is grieving physically harder than he is. It is uncomfortable but brilliant. The disjointed narrative means that we weren’t simply following a story, we were piecing bits together, living inside the man’s mind as he puts together his thoughts. The narrative structure means it could only have been a short and yet I wanted to keep watching for another hour.