Have Had Examines When Family Isn’t Family

By  · Published on January 27th, 2017

Short of the Day

An emotionally stirring and powerful drama starring Imogen Poots.

I happen to think actress Imogen Poots (Green Room, Greetings From Tim Buckley) is one of the most intriguing of her generation. On the one hand, her characters can come across as very sweet and wide-eyed innocent, almost frailly-so with a persona as petite as her frame, but then there are other times that smallness manifests as compact power and sharpness, belying wisdom and experience, which makes her deceptively dangerous, either emotionally or even physically. As a performer she is as dependable as she is mercurial, bringing familiarity and uncertainty to the roles she inhabits, thus creating characters who come both complete with our expectations in place and ready to defy them.

It is these particular traits that make her the perfect actress for the short film Have Had from director Jack Turits and written by Turits and actor Ben Rosenfield, who co-stars as Adam, a 20-something who has just lost his mother and because of this is meeting his half-sister Grace (Poots) for the very first time. Over the course of a tense and ruminating afternoon the two try to navigate through their respective griefs to common ground, sometimes finding the path clear, sometimes hindered by their individual issues and emotional barriers. The direction is elegant and appropriately restrained, the script is taut and savage in its raw beauty, but the true strength of Have Had lies in the performances of Poots and Rosenfield, who simultaneously lull and flay each other with looks and silences between the barbed and stilted dialogue. Theirs is the strangest kind of discomfort – they are related but not, family but not – and how the actors dance around this (somewhat literally) makes Have Had not just must-see, but must-experience, it is a film that requires all of you, fully-engaged, to get the most out of its emotional resonance.

There are times I’m glad I’ve seen a film, and there are times I am grateful. Have Had is one of those latter times, as I suspect it will be for you, too. It made its World Premiere over at NoBudge— a site every film fan and filmmaker should follow – and we’re happy to name it our Short of the Day. Enjoy and please share.

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