Review: Annie Waits

Created and written by Chris Anastasi, directed by Marnie Paxton and starring April Kelley, Alex Jordan, Sam Gittins, Andrew Simpson, Sam Swainsbury and Sara Huxley. Everyone waits for ‘the one’, the one who catches our eye, the one who keeps our interest, the one who won’t expect us to trudge down that conventional path. Annie Waits tells the story of lust and disappointment as a twenty-something waits for her adult life to begin.

The film opens with the ever popular choice of modern film and television: the inner monologue narration of the lead character, it’s all smiles and slow motion sentimentality then sharp cut to the truth, who cares about all that mushy nonsense? Establishing the key topic: women do exist who don’t simply want to be baby makers, obsessed with their own children. It’s slowly seeped into film and television for the last decade or two and has, almost, finally settled into a nice, not too niche, genre. Annie Waits, played by April Kelley, is the epitome of that, a quick summation of young, single women might be portrayed in media today.

Now, that has its advantages and disadvantages; firstly on the positive side there’s lead actress Kelley who does a fantastic job of making Annie lovely yet ruthless, lovable yet selfish and is genuinely a lead who’s enjoyable and entertaining to watch. Supported by the great line of gents who wander in and out of the film, each in turn, actors whom may only get a sliver of time to make an impression but nevertheless, each feels like a good match which is quite impressive really to have limited time but managing to get some chemistry in the mix. Moving on to the disadvantages, the glaring problem firstly is the predictability, the story is repetitive though with a few fresh moments and this is now well traversed territory. The knock on effect of that being, within the short film format, and the majority of time being used for comedy, there’s no space for something more meaningful. It approaches the edges of something akin to Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s acclaimed series Fleabag or Gillian Robespierre’s brilliant film starring Jenny Slate, Obvious Child but there’s no time or space for the depth and meaning that those examples bring alongside the comedy.

With all that being said, this is a short film, limitations are to be expected and its how those limitations are dealt with that really counts, Annie Waits is funny, lively and it’s relentlessly pleasurable to watch a young, free-spirited and headstrong Brit take the lead. The whole film is modern with quick cuts, vibrant colour, style and that classic London romance setting. It may not be entirely unique but it does give that impression of wanting to see more, wanting to follow Annie as she attempts to deal with more of life’s ups and downs and it’s entirely enjoyable.

Verdict: 7/10

You can find out more about Annie Waits here

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