Too Rough

Absolutely excellent short film. Too Rough is about Nick, a young guy whose boyfriend Charlie accidentally oversleeps at his house, and is witness to the chaos of Nick’s dysfunctional and abusive family.

The film opens with Nick and Charlie at a house party. Nick feels out of place at this party full of openly queer people, all a little older and a lot more middle class. While Charlie navigates the party with ease, Nick is withdrawn and drinking in the corner. He clearly feels like he is Charlie’s bit of rough, and swings between a crippling sense of inferiority and imposter syndrome, and a drunken sense of bravado when he feels threatened by another guy talking to his man. It’s this bravado that causes him to give in to Charlie’s requests to stay over at his place for a change.

When Nick awakes to find Charlie still in his bed, all that bravado melts away, and sheer panic replaces it. Ruaridh Mollica’s performance as Nick is absolutely excellent, from the tremor in his hands to the catch of his breath. The sense of shame is palpable as Nick openly resents Charlie for staying until his family were up. “I hope you’re enjoying your trip to the zoo,” he tells him, as his drunken parents begin their dawn-to-dusk screaming match. Because he knows Charlie will see that he is not some tough, but actually a scared boy, trembling with fear in anticipation of blows always about to fall.

Charlie clearly has no idea what a life like Nick’s is like. Charlie is too laid back, speaks too loudly, and initially rolls his eyes at Nick’s requests for him to sneak out. He treats the fact that he’s slept in as no big deal. It’s only over the course of the day, hiding out in Nick’s room listening to the arguments rain down like artillery fire, that he begins to understand just what Nick is dealing with. As Nick tries to push him away so he won’t see his shame, Charlie only holds tighter to him.

This is a love story. It’s about Charlie seeing part of Nick that allows him to love him on a deeper level, and Nick experiencing for the first time a complete sense of acceptance, and support. In this way, despite its bleak setting, it is a hopeful story.

Honestly just an excellent short film.