A Fork in the Road is a frustrating short film for harping more on divulging the question than exploring the answer.
A Fork in the Road (2011) Review By Mark McPherson
Published on May 18, 2023
Rating 2 /5
A Fork in the Road is a short film that is far too short. It feels like sitting down to a nice dinner but only being served an appetizer. You get excited for the main course set up by some starter dishes and can smell its presence. But just before it is served, the meal is tossed back into the kitchen before you can even glimpse it. It’s a shame because A Fork in the Road has a great setup for a film that cuts off at the most exciting part.
The film follows an Asian-American woman, Lisa, coming home to visit her two dads. Having grown up as their adopted daughter, she has a healthy relationship but has a controversial question lingering in her head. They give their greetings and catch up on their lives while eating sushi and drinking wine. It’s a mildly relatable moment of family discussion, complete with an awkward moment where Lisa admits she can’t use chopsticks.
Lisa tries to find the right moment to break some big news. She hints at it by suggesting that she’s seeking to expand her family. She tests the waters by bringing up that she’s pregnant. Her dads are ecstatic about her development. Their happiness is short-lived as Lisa admits that she’s not pregnant but wants to become pregnant. When the dads ask who will be the father, the most uncomfortable answer is given: She wants one of her dads to be the man who supplies the sperm for her child. It’s a shocking revelation that brings up a difficulty. One of the dads thinks this might not be the worst thing, while the other is entirely against this decision, feeling its incest. But is it incest?
This is a tough scenario that is never explored after the bomb is dropped. So many questions are raised about this scenario. Would it be considered incest? Would the dads accept this request for a child? How does Lisa truly entirely about this mood? There’s a lot to mentally much at with this question proposed, but the film never explores it thoroughly. One can’t help but feel that there’s a greater sense of drama to be evoked from this conversation, as though the real meat of this picture is the dialogue that would follow this revelation. And yet the film never gives us that satisfaction of seeing how this paradoxical longing for children and grandchildren would be explored. Imagine if Being John Malocvish stopped right when the discovery of the secret door a man’s mind was discovered, or the story of Knock at the Cabin ended with the mere implication of armageddon. It’s just not satisfying.
A Fork in the Road is a frustrating short film for harping more on divulging the question than exploring the answer. In the film’s defense, it might be a great tease to see what the director might go with this premise when the budget was longer and running time lone enough to tackle a questionable subject matter. Instead, the film reduces itself to being all about the anticipation and leaves the ultimate resolve up to the audience, leaving them with a black-and-white film of solid build-up and now payoff.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.