Directed by Michael Beddoes Starring Melissa Clements, Rosalind Lonsdale & Stephen Schreiber Short Film Review by Lorenzo Lombardi
With an inventive opening sequence setting a playful and quirky mood, Cold Reader provides a joyous and cheerful viewing experience that is sure to lift your spirit.
The short is set in a library and revolves around a newfound relationship and understanding after bored librarian Gaia (Melissa Clements) decides to approach regular visitor Edward (Stephen Schreiber) after a burning interest in his eccentric presence and to confirm her suspicions about him.
Over the course of this encounter, the characters share secrets and have personal revelations. Charming performances by both Clements and Schreiber make the dialogue between them flourishing and entertaining. What makes the whole chemistry so interesting is the difference between the two characters. Gaia is outright and assumptive while Edward is reserved and wise. The development of both characters changes, however, and it is oddly fulfilling.
There is a particularly special thing Cold Reader does well - it tackles a serious issue with optimism. Specifying the issue would ruin the short somewhat, but themes such as loneliness are carefully conveyed in a relatable and uplifting way. These dramatic parts build to a feel-good conclusion that will leave the audience grateful for the people they have in their life.
Cold Reader has a good message, which is hinted in its title. Gaia is at first cold at reading people, but Edward opens her mind, invoking the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”. In turn, though, she gives him back some long-lost humanity he had been longing for. At its well-meaning core, Cold Reader is a human story. It is about the desire for human interaction and overall betterment. And that’s what makes it undeniably appealing (or at least on a personal level). One to watch it if you are seeking that much-needed boost.