The film called “The Morning Guy” was created by Mark W. Gray and released in 2002.1 The film is rather short. It is a little longer than five minutes. Yet, it contains a deep allegorical meaning. Gray, The director of The Morning Guy, started working on the film intending to make a short gag. He was thinking of ideas how to make a movie without spending too much money on it. He wanted to pick a subject and shoot a film with the help of his digital camera only and in the setting of his own house.2 The result of the film maker’s work was impressive in many aspects.
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First of all, The Morning Guy turned out to be an anecdote about the director’s real family life. Gray used his own house and his camera to make a comic gag and ended up making a film about himself without a realisation of it. Besides, the humor of this short masterpiece is very sharp and witty; it has to be properly grasped together with the meaning of the film. Finally, The Morning Guy touches a rather serious and popular subject of the present days – underemployment and marital dissatisfaction, both of which serve as some of the main divorce causes in the world of nowadays.3
The film begins with a series of short static shots demonstrating the average morning for a married couple. Music, lighting, fresh coffee – all of these attributes show parts of normal happy family life just like pieces of a puzzle. Diegetic and non-diegetic sounding elements are cheerful and peaceful. Very little of no camera movement in the shots shows the seeming stability of the relationship. The five minutes of the film observe the morning that became a breaking point for the couple where “he is a morning person and she is not”.4
The shot transition is done by means of cutting, so one shot instantly replaces the other. This technique adds to a matter of fact key of the first six shots starting with a long shot of a typical American family house with a yard and a car. Most of the shots are rather short, yet they are still long enough for the audience to comprehend all of their elements and feel the overall atmosphere these shots were designed to create. The short film is powerful because most of its viewers could relate to one or the other character.5
The film stars Bill A. Jones, a radio professional, who started to pursue acting career in the late 1980s.6 Jones plays the husband, who has a very unusual way of expressing himself in his daily life – he speaks as if he was a radio personality commenting on every event. His non-stop talking that starts together with the alarm clock is his way of being creative and, most likely, results from his underemployment. His habit to go on about nothing for hours drives his wife mad, so she leaves him. Her life is unbearable because the alarm clock is not the device beside her bed, but the one in it.7
This short film demonstrates the way social pressure affects the modern married couples. It is a known fact that in earlier times husbands were supposed to be the breadwinners and suppliers, and wives were used to staying at home; today these roles shifted, women can choose to have careers and stable jobs or can remain housewives, while men are still under pressure of being successful.8
Gray himself is a demonstration of this tendency in the modern society. His marriage with Eileen D. Tomas ended up with a divorce after fourteen years.9 The husband’s underemployment is a very strong factor increasing marital dissatisfaction and leading to the end of a marriage. According to sociological studies, statistically, in the married couples where the husband is unemployed the divorce is likely to be initiated by both sides.10
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The husbands’ unemployment serves as a negative factor contributing to marital misunderstandings, so both wives and husbands get affected by it. First of all, a strong social pressure creates security issues for an unemployed man and causes personal inner unhappiness. This kind of personal dissatisfaction cannot be addressed from the side, so women end up dealing with constantly suffering husbands, which adds pressure to the family environment. Finally, unfulfilled men start searching for themselves and come up with all types of hobbies and entertainments.
Bill A. Jones’ character is an example of a man, who has found his favourite way to express himself. Unfortunately, acting like a radio commentator all day long can only be tolerated for a limited amount of time, this is why the character’s marriage comes to an end after many years – this can be seen from the old wedding photograph, which is a sign that the couple had been married for at least a decade by the moment the film’s events started.
The film shows the two sides of family life – the outer side that is peaceful and quiet and looks rather good, and the inner side that contains all the issues and conflicts. The divorce is what happens when the inside of the married life ruptures and bursts to the outside.
Barrett, Don. “Bill A. Jones – Radio Bio”. Billajones. 2014.
Brunell, Doug. “The Morning Guy”. Film Threat. 2003, Web.
Gray, Mark W. “The Morning Guy”. Rocketpictures. 2004, Web.
“Mark W. Gray: Biography”. IMDb. 2014.
Rhodes, Steve. “The Morning Guy”. IMDb. 2003, Web.
Rochman, Bonnie “Unemployed Men Are More Likely to Divorce”. Time. 2011.
“The Morning Guy”. Rocketpictures. 2014, Web.
“The Morning Guy”. Seb’s Web Archive. 2006.
“Unemployment And Divorce: Does Losing Your Job Lead To Divorce?” Huffingtonpost. 2012.
“Unemployment increases risk of divorce for men”. The Telegraph. 2011, Web.
- Doug Brunell, “The Morning Guy”, Film Threat, 2003, Web.
- Mark W. Gray, “The Morning Guy”, Rocketpictures, 2004, Web.
- “Unemployment And Divorce: Does Losing Your Job Lead To Divorce?” Huffingtonpost, 2012, Web.
- “The Morning Guy”, Rocketpictures, 2014, Web.
- “The Morning Guy”, Seb’s Web Archive, 2006, Web.
- Don Barrett, “Bill A. Jones – Radio Bio”, Billajones, 2014, Web.
- Steve Rhodes, “The Morning Guy”, IMDb, 2003, Web.
- Bonnie Rochman, “Unemployed Men Are More Likely to Divorce”, Time, 2011, Web.
- “Mark W. Gray: Biography”, IMDb, 2014, Web.
- “Unemployment increases risk of divorce for men”, The Telegraph, 2011, Web.