Calling Short film review

★★★

Written and Directed by: #HonHoang

Starring: #RaymondMa

Short film review by: Brian Penn

Short Film Calling (2020)

One of life’s great tragedies is that time catches up with us, and this bleak but strangely compelling film by Hon Hoang shows how distressing the sunset years can be. The man (Raymond Ma) reflects on life with only memories for comfort. He leads an increasingly solitary existence as those closest to him either leave or are simply lost to the passage of time. The man’s contemporaries are also gone and has no one to share recollections of the past. A phone call to his estranged son only finds voicemail on the other end. He records a message and tries to build bridges with reminders of the life they shared as a family. But the message abruptly ends as the voicemail’s memory is full.


The first half of the film relates the man’s deepest thoughts which are heart rending and deeply moving. Relating memories of the first meeting with his wife and the impossible notion they would ever grow old; there are some thought provoking one liners that give the film added edge - who knew that forever would be over so soon? These deeply effecting truths are delivered as the man moves from a table for one in a restaurant to an empty flat. It is painful to watch because it presents an inescapable fact of life; loneliness is our greatest enemy and should be fought as we grow older.


The finale descends into a bizarre karaoke session which is never satisfactorily explained. The captions don’t aid the narrative to any real extent and confuse the message that was initially well presented. It only succeeds in sending the film up; as a ragged turn completes he is greeted with isolated slow hand claps. Although difficult to complete there are more effective bows that could have been tied to the narrative. Even so it deserves some credit for the thought given to a scenario that is all too familiar.