The Swearing Jar

By: Liam Parker

Reminiscent of Jason Robert Brown’s hit musical The Last Five Years, The Swearing Jar takes the traditional tropes of a rocky relationship and turns them completely on its head.  The Swearing Jar is a masterclass in storytelling.  What begins as a beautifully sombre tale of love and heartache accented by musical interludes of haunting beauty, descends into a striking and refreshingly human tale of sorrow, loss, and grief.

Carey (played by Adelaide Clemens of The Great Gatsby) and her husband Simon (Patrick J. Adams of Room For Rent and TV’s Suits) have been blessed with something they have always dreamed of: a baby.  They go through the stages of prepping for a child, including cutting down on their cursing (hence the title);  but things become complicated when Carey meets a handsome guy at a bookstore, Owen (Douglas Smith of Don’t Worry Darling and TV’s Big Little Lies).  What follows is a story of the damage that can be caused by emotional cheating;  or so it would seem. 

Though directed well by Lindsay MacKay (Wet Bum), the true star of The Swearing Jar lies in its dialogue (written by Kate Hewlett, in an impressive feature screenwriting debut).  Clemens and Adams have such a natural chemistry, it allows the writing of the film to flow so smoothly and effortlessly.  It feels as though the viewer is merely in a room with two individuals in love, rather than watching actors on a screen.  The unique narrative structure of time jumps and plot points being buried in unique and original songs allows the film to elevate beyond a standard relationship drama.  The Swearing Jar is gripping, heart-wrenching, and ephemeral.

I highly recommend seeing The Swearing Jar in any way possible.  Bring tissues, however.  No matter who you are or where you come from, there is something in this film that will resonate with you and turn on the waterworks.

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