Treacle is a short film written by April Kelley and directed by Rosie Westhoff. The film tells the story of two friends who, after a drunken night, end up closer than expected.
The movie opens with Belle (portrayed by writer April Kelley) picking up her best friend Jessie (Ariana Anderson) for a night away in a rented villa. The first third of the film focuses entirely on the relationship between the two. Using the car ride between the pick up and arrival at the villa for this purpose allows Kelly to introduce the audience to the characters with a more laid back approach. Subjects such as their sexuality, current relationship status and general friendship are talked about during the ride.
Upon arriving at the villa, Belle and Jessie waste no time in having fun and head straight into the pool with some drinks. It’s shortly unveiled that the villa was originally bought as a birthday gift for Jessie’s (now ex-) boyfriend. As the night falls and Belle and Jessie get even drunker, they get closer.
Waking up the next morning anchored with regret (and a hangover) the decision is swiftly made to head straight home. Despite only a few feet between them in the car, Jessie and Belle feel unbelievably far apart – the outcome of the night before having put a strain on their friendship. Despite only knowing them for eighteen minutes, the audience feels this.
Kelley’s script is extremely well written, feeling completely natural, with a great pace and flow. There are points where the characters feel as though they’re defined only by their sexualities, but for the most part, they’re well rounded. Westhoff brings the script to life, showing why she was chosen to take the helm of the project. Clearly she had a vision for the film. This becomes obvious in her excellent, yet simple, pacing of the story and the blocking of the characters, both of which work hand in hand to create a brutal ending to the tale of two friends.
April Kelley and Rosie Westhoff have created something really special with Treacle. While LGBTQI+ stories are becoming more commonplace within cinematic storytelling (more so in short films than features), there seems to be a severe lack in representing the B in LGBTQI. But with Treacle, it’s portrayed with the utmost respect and great storytelling.