Youthful rebellion goes on a road trip in Martin Monk’s short film Favourites, which offers a simple, patient look at how chance encounters can reframe our perspective on life. In an unbroken opening shot, we follow behind teen Sofia (Lia Wilfing) as she strolls determinedly alongside a busy Viennese road, sticking out her thumb and then knocking on car windows and asking directly for a ride when the initial hitchhiking attempt is a bust.
It takes her a while to find any takers, but she eventually convinces middle-aged Michael (Christian Dolezal, “Woman in Gold”) to let her tag along. Sofia promises that she’ll be quiet and not bother the driver who appears to be an extremely serious and silent sort, but once they’re on their way, she finds it difficult to keep her promise.
She tries to strike up multiple conversations, Michael offers little in response, and awkwardness ensues. Still, they keep on travelling together. There are a lot of ways a story like this could go, but Monk opts for a mostly uneventful route, which is probably for the best considering how easily many of the potential clichés could derail the journey.
Over time, Sofia opens up to Michael about the fractured relationship with her mother that she’s now running away from. Even though Michael isn’t much of a conversationalist, the two still manage to deepen their understanding of each other and Sofia is able to step back and view her situation in another light.
Monk takes a laid-back approach to the story, capturing car chats and occasional pit stops that don’t seem to be leaving much of an impression until the destination arrives and we can see that Sofia is somewhat changed.
Favourites concludes on a meaningful note that, like the whole 18-minute movie, operates on an engine of simplicity. It’s just a nice, quaint ending that works well within its intimate context. There’s nothing particularly original about Monk’s short, either in plot or themes or concept, but as a focused look at teen angst, it at least reflects its feelings with honesty and heart.