Dakota Fanning is stretching her director muscles in her debut with the short film Hello Apartment. As short films go it’s very intriguing and very nostalgic for those that have ever had to live on their own. A lot of us have experienced this, and have known the joy, uncertainty, and absolute freedom that’s come from having our own space and being able to do what we wanted with our own apartment and live as we desired. That feeling never really goes away as time goes on, but it does change as people change, becoming something that’s more of a fond memory than the era of fun and uncertainty that it used to be.
Getting your own apartment for the first time in your life can be a bit frightening, but it can also be very exhilarating as well. You’re on your own, no one is there to hold your hand, do your laundry, cook your meals, or take care of you when you’re sick. The only people you can depend on live within that apartment, and many times it’s just you unless you happen to befriend the neighbors and grow close with them. Your first apartment is where you hang your hat so to speak, and where you experience what life is like away from home and any type of support you might have had in the past.
It becomes a series of moments in time when you find yourself, when you find others, and when you begin to experience what life is like without a safety net to keep you from falling. The apartment you first moved into could have been the best or the worst place you ever lived in your life, but it will always hold that special place in your mind since it was the one place that was yours so long ago. As a person just moving into their own space the utter freedom that you have to work with is often offset by the pride you take in your place and its appearance. After all this is your space and you want it to look as good as possible for friends when they come over. But there are those times when heartache is as much a part of your first place as anything, and often the apartment you first call your own will still bear the marks of those encounters and times when you share your greatest experiences or your worst memories. There’s only so much that can be done to patch up the past, and often it can be uncovered rather easily by memory.
Dakota Fanning has put together a charming movie here that touches a lot of people in a way that is profound and yet so down to earth that one can’t help but be moved by the simple gesture that comes from having lived this kind of life in the past. Returning to the apartment was an even greater touch since it reminds us all that going back is not so much a refusal to move forward, but more likely a moment in time that we remember fondly and without regret.
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