We are gathered here today (2022) Film Review- Armessa Movie News


In the curiously small catalog of post COVID-19 films, We are gathered here today stands out as an experiment that works well due to the simplistic characterization of a moment. Filters are off, and the awkwardness of certain relationships is discarded upon crisis. We all stared at something dark in the face and we weren’t prepared for that. Films like this show ourselves in our truest form, often one that isn’t ideal. 

We are gathered here today is a computer screen film that shows a family reunited during a horrible moment. A family member is passing away due to COVID complications and a doctor has told them this is the only way to say goodbye. No hospital visits. It was too risky.

So an initial video call sets off a thorough analysis of a family broken by different circumstances. From religious differences, to politics in 2020, there are multiple reasons why they’re estranged, and only one for coming together. 

We’ve only experienced this setting in horrors and thrillers. Drama isn’t quite common because, let’s face it, the emotional flows are different. It isn’t an easy task. However, director Paul Boyd does enough to convey a sense of urgency that allows the emotions to arrive in a 74-minute film that goes back and forth constantly. We are gathered here today is effective and its DNA is composed of universal insights, and good actors doing their best in very small screen space.

The film could be an overly dramatic conversation taking place on a computer screen. It’s not like COVID didn’t actually bring those to the table. Nevertheless, the dynamics of the family are corrupt enough to allow us to notice the real story here. It’s not that a family gets rid of differences through tragedies and what’s done is done. It’s that you’re never prepared to address this message, and when you realize it, it’s just too late. It’s the surprise that hurts. 

In We are gathered here today, Boyd includes everything in the menu. It becomes almost absurd that they’re so diverse, they have to fight for almost everything. But going to these extremes, he injects universality to a story that’s already general. It didn’t have an effect on me, and a couple of conflicts seemed a bit unnecessary. 

The equation in We are gathered here today is respected almost completely. There aren’t many paths to explore in a film that’s already set in telling a tragic story through the reaction of those related. But at the very end, a few minutes of footage will really get to you. The meaning of “too late” is addressed through silence, regret and grief. And it’s all done through a computer screen. A great insight in making us notice the value of real contact and the horrors of technology dependence. 

It’s curious to think how the film would have worked if COVID hadn’t been as contagious. Would this family have “reunited” in a different way? Would they have been so open? Screens had the ability of bringing us together in times where isolation was the rule. Did they also make us more open to real feelings?

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Federico Furzan

Founder of Screentology. Member of the OFCS. RT Certified Critic

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– Armessa Movie News