Her Friend Adam and Dependence vs Autonomy in Love

By  · Published on December 12th, 2016

Short of the Day

Written, directed, and starring Ben Petrie.

In every relationship there is a tenuous balance between dependence and autonomy, or of being a part of something composite and remaining an individual. We all need our personal space and private time no matter how happy we are in our relationships, and though by-and-large we all understand this, respecting it can be easier said than done. After all, there’s a paranoia inherent to romantic and emotional intimacy, there’s a constant fear – though not constantly noticeable – that love will end, that we will be rejected or cast aside, and as a result true, unwavering trust is hard to come by. Maybe we are the product of a broken relationship, maybe we’ve been through one ourselves, or have witnessed a friend or loved one go through it; the simple and perhaps harsh fact is, we all know someone, if not ourselves, who has had their heart broken when they thought it was indestructible, we’ve all known relationships that have seemed unsinkable crash and burn, and as a result, we all harbor the suspicion – no matter how faint or strong – that the same could happen to us. So we distrust. We don’t mean to, it’s just another quality of being human. The trick is in choosing your battles and knowing when some issues are mountains and others molehills.

These are some of the issues at the heart of Her Friend Adam, a 17-minute short film from writer/director Ben Petrie who also stars alongside actress Grace Glowicki, that takes places at one of these fragile emotional crossroads where trust and distrust intersect.

Petrie plays Robert and Glowicki Liv, a couple of young creative types – he’s a writer, she’s painter – who embody the common personas of such people, he pensive, pent-up, and insecure, she passionate, responsive, and electric with personality. One night in their apartment while going through the mundane chore of recounting their days for one another, Robert develops the suspicion Liv isn’t telling him everything about her experiences since that morning, specifically something to do with her friend Adam, who, as opposed to Robert, is tall, handsome, socially smooth, and confidant. Liv tries to calmly convince Robert his paranoia is unfounded, but that doesn’t work and before you know it both are embroiled in a skirmish of personal attacks, their whole relationship in doubt over a moment’s distrust.

Besides being narratively taut and expertly performed by Petrie and Glowicki, Her Friend Adam is a kinetic and visceral film, one that takes us not just inside the lives of its subjects, but inside their love, a less tangible and harder-to-define thing. Through their respective distrust and defense we learn about the quality of their love and how it reflects on them individually and as a unit, and we discover that in the strongest bonds there are weak spots, and vice versa.

Petrie was recently named one of the Top 25 New Faces in the industry by Filmmaker, and Her Friend Adam has been the official selection of a slew of film festivals including Seattle International, SXSW, and Sundance. Her Friend Adam premiered on, which should be on every film fan’s bookmarked list, so after you ravenously consume this rich character study, hit the site to see what else they’re showing.

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Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist