Review: Have a Biscuit

Directed by Natalya Mykhaylyuk and written by Callum Jones, a funeral director becomes increasingly anxious that her choice of biscuit has offended the grieving widow sat in front of her. Starring: Laura Cooper-Jones and Niti Dhingra.

Making an entire short film about whether or not a person eats a Jammie Dodger is a particularly British thing to do. Which works very well because there’s a classically British sense of humour running throughout Have a Biscuit. It has sarcasm with a hint of darkness and a great balance of being both generous and selfish. Capturing a typical inner monologue where everything that doesn’t need to be questioned is and with intense detail, while momentarily forgetting the actual conversation going on in front of you. Reminiscent of how when someone introduces themselves but your mind has started to drift, you forget what their name was and can’t ask, as doing so would admit you weren’t paying attention. With the typical moving back and forth of whether you’re annoyed about something or apologetic for judging, without ever saying a word.

With that sense of humour taking the forefront, Natalya Mykhaylyuk takes on a nicely understated approach. It’s a classic set-up, moving from one character to the other, with the editing pushing on the more intensified moments. There’s a quality to it which throws back to Peep Show, through the occasional use of a first person view and the pace of the editing. The office setting is well done, there’s nothing to distract because it’s simple but detailed enough that you don’t have to think about it.

It’s an interesting mix with the performances here because the dialogue mostly comes from the internal monologue of the funeral director played by Laura Cooper-Jones but there’s still plenty of physical reaction. For Cooper-Jones that means a lot of facial cues, capturing the ups and downs of the overthinking going on inside her character’s mind, and she does it wonderfully, it’s hugely entertaining to watch. Whereas Niti Dhingra’s grieving widow may mostly serve as a backdrop to the key story, she does have to bring a great deal of emotion. The snippets that we actually get of her dialogue present a truly sad story, which only makes it more funny that the funeral director is really not paying attention. The great thing about Dhingra’s performance is it walks the line so well of being convincing but not pulling attention away, so that the story can keep playfully tuning in and out.

Have a Biscuit is incredibly funny, perfectly relatable and has a classically British sense of humour. It presents an extremely entertaining example of textbook overthinking. Capitalising on that rollercoaster from insecurity to worry to resentment to judgement and back around again. Laura Cooper-Jones ticks both boxes with her entertaining voice-over work and the fantastic facial reactions to her constantly changing opinion. Realistically it’s a valid question, if there’s a Jammie Dodger on offer, why wouldn’t you take it?

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯½ | 9/10

Reviewed as part of Women X Film Festival 2022

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