Jess Noble's 'Friend,' Starring John Noble, is a Complex Lesson in Loss, Caring, and Moving On ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Jess Noble's 'Friend,' Starring John Noble, is a Complex Lesson in Loss, Caring, and Moving On

      Email Post       5/03/2013 12:48:00 PM      

shot in Vancouver - Aimee Long

Two months ago, media producer Ari Margolis released a trailer for "Friend," a short film written by Jess Noble, and starring none other than her father, the versatile and beloved actor, John Noble. The scenes were filmed in Vancouver during the last days of filming for Fringe, and the crew names should seem quite familiar to any serious Fringe fan. Hint: They were members of the filming crew,  who generously volunteered their time for this endeavor.

The film's synopsis:

A lonely, grief stricken man of wealth finds a new lease on life after an unusual ‘friend’ is mysteriously delivered to his door. A unique and unexpected relationship quickly forms, bringing hope and color to the man’s bleak existence. But will tragedy strike again?

Over the past few days, Fringe fans may have noticed some clues about the film's release, in the form of teasing tweets from Ari Margolis (@jonxproductions) and @Fringenuity, and from some posts on Facebook, Tumblr, and Google Plus.

The wait is now over.

The film was released today, as announced by TVGuide Magazine's Fringe-faithful senior writer, Damian Holbrook.

Watch it before continuing to read, and be sure to scan the credits. There's some wit from video editor Ari Margolis, and a tribute to one of his most special friends. I have a personal wish that Ari's heart has healed, and that maybe someday a new buddy will "assist" him at his desk as he writes his breakout screenplay.

Not surprisingly, John brings his best form to this gentle lost soul. From the film's little funeral scene -- which turns out to be something more -- to the emotional storm that takes place in his apartment, I see great pain in the depths of his long-weary eyes. Everything about the man's nervous movements, and seemingly drifting aimlessness, gives a fuller picture of his character without using words to do so. (Dear Emmy gods: John has been ignored for far too long!) 

He's much like a balloon; set adrift on uncaring skies, and who could burst at a moment's notice. Only his focus on making paper flowers is keeping him steady, and even that is wavering. I can't help but be reminded of Walter Bishop in his times of distress, whether it was his fear when he was lost in the episode, Snakehead, or his famous "strawberry-flavored-death" breakdown.

What is the cause of  his tearful, heartbreaking anguish? Did he lose someone who meant the world to him? Little mumbles when he finds the deflated balloon offer some clues. The multiple tiny crosses dotting the cemetery of dead "friends" was not expected, and added an exquisite layer of depth-- albeit eerie --to the story. 

Investigating attachment theory leads to some thoughts. It's common for children to develop a comforting dependence on inanimate objects such as blankets or teddy bears. However, it's not totally unheard of in adults, especially those who have reached their later years. The big difference between the two is that children display the behavior due to fear of abandonment, whereas adults usually do so after suffering the loss of a loved one.

The choice of yellow throughout the film was a splash of color in a heavy situation—a ray of shining hope. The flowers were made by Jasika Nicole, and they are so pretty! As a Fringe fan, I have the tendency to investigate the meanings of flowers and their colors. (Thanks White Tulip!) Yellow roses mean friendship, a new beginning, and "I care." Hmm…

Jasika's partner, Claire Savage, was an extra in the crowd at the park square, while John's wife, Penny, makes an appearance as the balloon vendor. After the burial and mourning of yet another "friend," the older gentleman looks at her display of colorful, floating balloons. As his eyes land on a smile balloon, he cautiously selects and pays for it; you can just see so much feeling conveyed in his eyes. There is a hint of recognition and dare I say, twinkling joy? Also, a cautious hesitancy is delivered all in a short sequence. He knows something, but is afraid to go there.

And as for who left all of the balloons outside of John's character's door? Well, maybe real friends are right under our own noses.  Have you ever observed a person who just looked like he or she could use a little encouragement or just a friendly hello? Random acts of kindness really do make the world a better place.

The lesson that I took away from this film is a point that needs to be kept close to the heart in this often cold and indifferent world: There is nothing more painful than the loss of a loved one or good friend. I personally know this pain all too well, so the idea gave me a number of tears. Not just itty-bitty ones, but streams.But... we have memories to hold on to,  and there are new friends to be made if we can just let them in.

This film was able to convey such power partially due to John's emotive performance, but Jess Noble's work with a nearly wordless script is a major factor as well. I have always been of the opinion that silent film writers and actors really had their work cut out for them. The musical score, composed by Jeremy Little, served a similar purpose as music did in those days, and it complimented the screen action for a sensual blend—a treat for heart and mind.

One final note. I tend to enjoy films and television shows that are open to interpretation. Spoon-fed answers and perspectives are boring. This film not only appealed to my emotional senses, but it drew out thought processes about the characters, the objects;  the meanings. In my opinion, a film that made the viewer consider an unseen past and a future for the characters --especially in the time span of 8 minutes -- has done a magnificent  job. Truly a work of art.

I'd like to think that maybe the next time the gentleman opens his apartment door, he will open the doors to his heart and embrace a new, true friend.

By Ian Knight (@zort70)
Some Friend Fun 

In celebration of this video's release, the folks at Fringe fan organization, Fringenuity, are holding a cool, special contest.

All you have to do is email Fringenuity a photograph or a piece of your own art work that represents what friends mean to you. You can win a rare coin which was made as part of the Ambergram project. These were given to Fringe cast, crew, guest stars, FOX VIPS, and Bad Robot employees. Only 500 were made. Or, you can choose a $25 gift certificate.  Get all of the details about the contest here: You’ve Got a Friend in Me

John Noble Will Pick the Winner!

We're also encouraging some friendly encouragement on Twitter, by sending followers a #FriendFuzzy

Finally, as a music lover, I just had to put together a special Spotify playlist about friends and the value of friendship.

I think we all agree that it's nice to see John on our screens again. We also want to wish Jess Noble the very best luck in her future endeavors. The apple doesn't fall very far from the tree as far as the Nobles are concerned.


cortexifan said...

Thank you for that Aimee. After watching this and reading your take on it - that made it even more special.

Aimee Long said...

Thanks C. Would love to hear what your thoughts are about it!

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