Directed By Maggie Kaszuba Starring Tyler Kipp, Ariane M. Reinhart and Chris Viemeister
Short Film Review by Owen Herman
Inspired is a short film about a young girl’s relationship with her strict basketball coach. Always late and unreliable, Samantha Higgins (Tyler Kipp) seems to be the focus of her coach’s (Ariane M. Reinhart) temper, though they both hide their more personal issues from each other. It is hard to explore these matters easily in a short film such as this, but Inspired does a good job. Higgins’ imperfect home and school life away from the basketball court is conveyed brilliantly and believably. Shifty eyes, nervous leg shaking and checking a phone are used instead of some boring exposition dialogue to show her lack of social interaction and slight loneliness.
The dynamics between the two characters is interesting and evolves quite naturally, thanks to solid performances from the lead actors. Some of the extras aren’t particularly convincing and I think perhaps dialogue should have been kept to the leads. It is not a huge issue but poor delivery always takes the viewer out of the moment. The script is good but as with many similarly inspiration-focused films, there are one too many cheesy motivational lines. A few are always fine and these actors have the quality to deliver them, but Inspired does seem to feature one after another at times, particularly in a hospital scene that could have been more moving.
Inspired is certainly well made, Matt McAndrew’s music is great and sets the right tone, Michael Posner’s editing is slick and Maggie Kaszuba’s direction is very good. It is often surprisingly hard to direct any sport scene convincingly but Kaszuba manages to portray both matches and training in a believable manner.
There are issues with Inspired but I did enjoy it. There is obvious talent both in front of the camera and behind the scenes but these small problems keep Inspired from being as good as it could be.