Directed by Lee Loechler
Starring Timothy J. Cox and Rachel Lynn Jackson
Short film review by Eleanor Hucklesby
A five minute short film, Choosing Sides has a simple premise: a father and mother, the former a Catholic and the latter Jewish, try to persuade their disinterested son to decide how to celebrate his upcoming birthday.
With this short film being directed and edited by Lee Loechler, the narrative has a brisk pace and the cinematography is good, the editing slick and unobtrusive from the story. However, the camera work is quite basic throughout and I did at times wonder if the filmmakers could’ve been a little more explorative in its camera work—even with the film’s short length.
Where this short film really shines however is in its script, written by Yael Green. With its clear central conflict, the script of Choosing Sides is somewhat of a gem. Though it does not provide huge belly laughs, only slight smiles and brief chuckles, Green’s script does not just simply throw jokes at the audience in the hope that one of them sticks.
Indeed, throughout this short film, Green seeks to interweave a high range of themes into the story. Not only is this a satire on the conflicts between different religions, but the script also contains biting observations on family dynamics; specifically, the script comments on the influence parents try to exert over their children. My only criticism for the script would be that occasionally, some characters start to sound the same and as a result, the action in the dialogue ends up falling flat before picking up again. However, the acting of all three cast members is fluid and consistent.
As the father, Timothy J. Cox perfectly encapsulates the desperation of his character, bringing a level of frustration to the performance as well. Rachel Lynn Jackson, as the mother, brings a similar amount of frustration to her character which sparks well with Cox’s character, but Jackson brings a maternal edge to her performance, bringing an added element to the film’s humour. The skilful comedic performances quickly establish both the world of the narrative and the dynamics between the characters, making the payoff of the film’s entertaining final twist provide the short film’s biggest laugh.
Overall then, Choosing Sides is a short film which contains a crisp, clear conflict throughout and despite occasional wavering moments in the script, it is a higher than average, entertaining examination of religion and family dynamics with a final twist that it is both sweet and humorous.
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