Directed by David Bertran Starring Wyatt Greene, Carissa Bazler, Nancy Daly, & Michael Maino Short Film Review by Lorenzo Lombardi
There is that kind of film that serves as catharsis for losing a loved one. Coming to Terms provides it sensitively and soothingly, albeit in an unconventional way that I am still coming to terms with myself. This short film revolves around a pair of young siblings and how they deal with the death of their father. They try to fathom the complicated subject and put their full faith in previously given religious lectures. In turn, they try and find a method in reaching him.
Before their journey, we get to see the interesting dynamic of how these characters deal with the situation. Aunty Carol played briefly but stupendously by Nancy Daly, shows sympathetic anxiety towards letting her nephews know about what will happen to their father. After a touchingly executed chat about the afterlife - thanks hugely to Michael Maino’s warm performance as the deceased - the kids are shown to poignantly contemplate the afterlife in the form of a well-written conversation the night after. The main two child stars, Carissa Bazler (Sally) and Wyatt Greene (Eddie) provide mostly what you want from child performances. Their characters are innocent and naïve, believably carrying the film after the adult characters are no longer focused on.
A highlight of the film is the value in its craft. DP John Rosario’s cinematography is very crisp. It is also both sophisticated and beautiful, not to mention the lighting gives off a heavenly feel with almost every frame. Bruno Valenti’s score is effectively emotional. For me, that was the most memorable aspect. One of the reasons is because it adds a layer of innocence to an otherwise bleak turn of events. This film could have been completely different if any other type of music was implemented, but the usage of towering violins convey a sense of innocence that fits with the theme of afterlife. What I found baffling then is that, in moments of tragedy, the film plays them off too optimistically. This will leave some to be polarised.
As a whole, though, this short is not polarising. Its production values are very much appreciated - from the vivid cinematography to a majestic score - as well as its handling of the tough subject, even if a couple of moments may be too heavy. With some memorable performances to remember the characters by, the short has all-round quality. Coming to Terms is an emotional piece about the empowering struggle that is coping with loss.
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