Last Tuesday night, Critical Popcorn were invited to a private screening of Forget Me Not, from director Nicholas Goulden and produced by Angela Godfrey at Keen City. Taking place in the bedecked BFI Stephen Street, we were treated to bubbles and mince pies before the film, and boy, its title isn’t wrong.
James Cosmo (Game of Thrones, Braveheart) stars as Benedict, a lonely older gentleman living on the streets near a busy London overpass. It’s the week leading up to Christmas, the concrete is cold and wet, and Benedict goes largely ignored by passersby, all except for Jack (John Heffernan – The Crown, Ripper Street), a smartly suited businessman who buys Benedict a coffee every day on his way to work. As time ticks by, edging closer to Christmas Day, Benedict’s only visitor is Jack, like clockwork, coffee in hand.
However, things quickly change when he starts to notice a young girl (Ruby Royle), clinging to her teddy bear, wandering the pavement. She doesn’t look lost or scared, but content following shoppers and commuters, then turning around and going back the way she came. Crossing the streets, waiting for the traffic lights to change, all while keeping a tight hold on her bear. She’s noticed Benedict, and she’s determined to befriend him.
One night, she approaches the old man, offering her furry friend out to him. Benedict takes the bear, wrapping him in his sleeping bag, and the girl walks off, a spring in her step. The next morning, Benedict wakes only to find that the bear has disappeared, soon spotting the girl skipping through the crowds, teddy in hand. Did she take it back during the night without him noticing? That evening, she returns, offering it out to Benedict again. He takes it, and she wanders off. This pattern repeats itself over the following evenings until Benedict snaps, shouting at the girl to leave him be. With tears forming in her eyes, she disappears, leaving Benedict feeling guilty and truly alone.
What ties Benedict, Jack and the young girl together? Why is she all alone at Christmas? Where are her parents? Can Benedict help her get back to her family in time for the big day?
Speaking to director Nick before the screening, he guaranteed us this was ‘a crier’, and he wasn’t wrong. Tackling hard-hitting themes including homelessness, poverty, grief, and the kindness of strangers, Forget Me Not is a moving Christmas tale that left us dabbing at our eyes afterwards. On the topic of the themes of the film, Nick said:
‘I wanted to look at the issue of homelessness in a new way, but also tell a story that was as powerful and emotive as we could make it. Woven into the story is the idea that in helping others we ultimately help ourselves, which all the characters experience in their own way, acting as the glue which binds the story and characters together.’
Producer Angela also commented on the strong themes, saying:
Forget Me Not is a story which so many of us can relate to and even though it is in places quite fantastical, it is a story which reminds us of thinking about others and doing good for people who are in need.
Forget Me Not is exactly that, a heartwarming Christmas story we can all learn something from. Nick and his team are destined for great things!
Watch the trailer by clicking here and visit their site: www.forgetmenotshortfilm.com
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Stills by Daniel D Moses