Woman celebrates anniversary with late husband in powerful short film about loneliness

'We needed to convey the sense of despair some people are experiencing,' says filmmaker Phil Beastall

Sabrina Barr@fabsab5
Tuesday 19 November 2019 13:21
Woman celebrates anniversary with late husband in heart-wrenching short film about loneliness

A short film depicting the heartbreaking story of a woman celebrating her anniversary with her late husband has been released.

The emotional three-minute film has been produced by filmmaker Phil Beastall for The Silver Line, a charity that supports older people who are experiencing loneliness.

It is the second campaign Mr Beastall has released in a matter of days, having recently launched a heartwarming Christmas film about a same-sex couple in a long-distance relationship.

Last year, the filmmaker gained viral online fame when his tear-jerking £50 Christmas advert, which portrayed a man listening to cassette tapes left for him by his late mother, was hailed as being better than the John Lewis Elton John festive campaign.

His new film, titled The Anniversary, opens with a home video being played on a television set, which shows a man presenting an anniversary gift to his wife who is still in bed.

(The Silver Line

The television cuts to a pixelated pattern of static, which is when it is revealed that the woman in the video is watching the film on her own.

The woman turns the television off, making her way to a desk in a dark, gloomy room.

As she turns the desk lamp on, she opens a drawer and takes out a framed photograph of her late husband, gazing upon it with a mournful expression.

(The Silver Line

The woman positions the photograph upright on the desk and takes out a photo album from the drawer, which she places on the tabletop.

She opens the album to display a collection of photographs that have been glued inside to commemorate her and her husband’s anniversaries over the years.

The woman smiles tearfully as she recalls how they visited China during their 30th anniversary and how they went camping to mark their 49th year of marriage.

(The Silver Line

As she turns the page marked “50th Wedding Anniversary”, she becomes choked up.

It is made apparent to the viewer that her husband passed away before they were able to celebrate their 50th anniversary together, when they would have renewed their vows.

Wiping away her tears, the woman lights a candle in her husband’s memory, saying: “Happy anniversary my darling.”

(The Silver Line

Nina Gopal, director of income at The Silver Line, contacted Mr Beastall to create the heart-wrenching film after seeing other examples of his work.

“Our brief was to create a film that portrayed loneliness and what it’s like to miss someone so much that it hurts and get across the sense of loss,” Ms Gopal said.

“I have to say that he’s done a great job – it’s hard to hold back the tears when I watch it.”

Mr Beastall explained that he enjoys the challenge of “making a film that speaks to people despite there being very little said”.

“Sad though it is, we needed to convey the sense of despair some people are experiencing,” he said of the short film.

Journalist and television presenter Dame Esther Rantzen, who founded The Silver Line, outlined how loneliness is “often the price we pay for loss”, whether that be loss of “sight, hearing, or a loving partner”.

“I find this film so moving that it brings tears to my eyes, because I speak to so many Silver Line callers who think about their lost loved ones every day, and for whom Christmas is the loneliest time of their year,” Dame Rantzen said.

According to charity Campaign To End Loneliness, there are more than a million older people in the UK experiencing chronic loneliness.

The organisation states that the number of people over the age of 50 who experience loneliness is likely to reach two million by 2025/26.

Earlier this year, the government announced the launch of a campaign to tackle the stigma of loneliness.

The initiative, titled "Let's Talk Loneliness", was launched by minister for loneliness Mims Davies, in the hope of creating a culture in which people feel comfortable talking about feeling lonely.

The campaign brought together charities, organisations and businesses including The Marmalade Trust, Co-Op Foundation, British Red Cross, Campaign to End Loneliness, Mind, Public Health England and the Jo Cox Foundation.

The Silver Line’s free helpline is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year on 0800 4 70 80 90.

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