Ben and Suzanne, A Reunion in Four Parts is a shaggy dog story about a couple who finds out the hard way that absence doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. Like love, Ben and Suzanne isn’t afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve. The film takes a hard look at modern romance through the lens of balancing work and relationships.

After being apart for a long stretch, Ben (Sathya Sridharan) travels to Sri Lanka where Suzanne (Anastasia Olowin) has been working. The opportunity for the two to recapture their spark is there, if only Suzanne’s boss would leave her alone. For Ben and Suzanne, the problem isn’t just overbearing work demands. Who among us hasn’t had a day off wrecked by nagging bosses and coworkers? That’s all too relatable. 

Even more relatable, and more difficult to grapple with, is the realization that extended time apart from someone can, and will, irreparably change the course of a relationship. Or completely stymy it. One of the lingering takeaways from Ben and Suzanne is that you can’t hit pause on something as malleable as a relationship without fundamentally altering its course.

What writer-director Shaun Seneviratne captures most succinctly is the fleeting nature of relationships. When they first reconnect, each conversation feels like two people trying to pick up where they left off. There’s a strain to their conversations that will hit home for anyone who’s ever tried holding onto something that’s no longer the way it used to be. Love is always seen as this powerful, nearly unbreakable thing. That feels like the exception rather than the rule. The more time Ben and Suzanne spend together, the more apparent this becomes. Sridharan and Olowin play this dynamic well. Sridharan plays Ben as a guy on the cusp of desperation, while Olowin gives Suzanne the feel of someone whose mind is always a few steps ahead of the present moment. The relationship seems destined to be done, romantically-speaking, they just haven’t realized it yet.  

There’s a general looseness to Ben and Suzanne that helps the film stay engaging when it starts to meander. Seneviratne lands the film on a lovely note. He finds a land to deliver a bit of optimism for Ben and Suzanne that doesn’t pander or stoop to schmaltz. For a film about the difficulty of maintaining and growing a relationship, the ending is honest and well-executed.

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