Written and Directed by Laura Jean Marsh
Starring Laura Jean Marsh, Jamal Franklin
Lara and Daniel are the best of friends and exist in the U.K. circa the mid 00’s. The two love to have fun, both existing and coming alive in the world of the London nightlife.
“Giddy Stratospheres” is, at its heart, a tale of two friends. Daniel and Lara club together, pub crawl together, do coke and other club drugs together, and party their way through their existence together. But amongst all the wild nights and darkened music club adventures, the two love one another. Their friendship is pure.
After one particularly untamed night of clubbing, Lara and Daniel must, quite literally, get to the church on time. Lara’s grandmother has died, and she is to read a poem she wrote for her grand mum when she was only ten years old.
The screenplay is fast and funny and witty, with plenty of pizazz to be found in both the characters and Marsh’s fast filmmaking style. The film zips from flashback to real time and back again. This is the flurry of time experienced by those who live and die by the endless and all-encompassing club scene.
There is also a dose of real drama and the eventual realization that hits so many of us as we pour into our late twenties. The party must come to an end.
Working with cameraman Jack Miller, Marsh designs the film as bold and constant as the Punk-New Wave tunes that blast across the soundtrack. At only one hour and seven minutes, the film speeds by like a wild abandon night of clubbing.
Marsh based her screenplay on some of her own experiences back when she was a “club kid”. Lara and Daniel and all the supporting characters move through their lives as if they are all invincible. For these people, the party is never going to end… or so they think. Fun is always happening, but reality follows close behind.
There are some moving moments between our two lead characters. Daniel is burdened with a sadness after a huge fight with his mother. Jamal Franklin is wonderful in the role. The actor has the right amount of energy to match Marsh’s Lara and there is a kindness and gentleness to his portrayal. Through all the music and mayhem, it is Daniel who grounds the film and sets Lara on her path of getting her shit together.
Laura Jean Marsh is sweet, fun, and touching and her screen rapport with Franklin feels completely natural. As an actress, she nails the role and everything Lara is meant to represent.
As the writer and director, Marsh shines equally as strong. If the smaller characters seem to come in and out in short blasts, so goes the life of living in that scene. Every encounter is quick and becomes flashes of memory as the days go on.
Fueled by one hell of a fantastic collection of songs and steadied by two great lead performances, Marsh’s film is an addictively entertaining (and eventually moving) experience.
“Giddy Stratospheres” is a film with attitude, backbone and heart and a tribute to the talents of writer/director/star Laura Jean Marsh.
NR, 67Minutes, Gravitas Ventures