Moving-In-Law short film review

★★★★

Directed by: #ReynaldoDumas

Written by: #ReynaldoDumas

Starring: #ChanellBell, #TerenceSims, #DeandreaBrown

Film Review by: Darren Tilby


It’s hard to adequately portray a realistic family dynamic in movies at the best of times, even more so in a short amount of time. But in his five-minute-long short film, Moving-In-Law, Writer/Director Reynaldo Dumas gives us a brief window into the lives and relationships of three individuals that’s both interesting and layered.


For Brigitte (Chanell Bell), moving house couldn’t have come at a worse time. She’s broken her arm and has been told by doctors not to do any heavy lifting. Luckily, she has her sister, Lisa (Deandrea Brown) and brother-in-law, Aaron (Terence Sims) to help out. The three-way dynamic is laid out from the off: Lisa is dominant, the alpha, if you will, and it’s not hard to imagine that she’s organised this whole house move, as she orders her husband around, dictating where everything needs to be placed. But there also seems to be some tension around the trio, something explored (but not resolved) around the last few minutes of the film.


But that’s what this film is. It’s a window into the lives of these people only; there’s no resolution to the events in the movie. Of course, this is entirely purposeful and, to its credit, it leaves you wanting more. But what’s truly impressive about Moving-In-Law is how capably Dumas can convey this level of dynamism within the first 60 seconds of film. This is, chiefly, down to both the superior quality of the writing and the magnificent performances by the entire, albeit small, cast. This is the very heart of the movie. But it’s Ralph Klisiewicz’s excellent framing and camera work that guides through the complexities of these relationships. Ensuring every side glance, and every raised lip, or eye, is caught on camera for us to scrutinise.


There are problems here and there, of course. My main issue with the movie comes from its predictability. Unfortunately, the film hints a little too vigorously at what we later “discover” towards the end of the film, making it much less impactful than what it could have been. It’s also worth mentioning the fact that there is no resolution may be a problem for some viewers; people generally like these things to be wrapped up and rounded off by the end credits, and this isn’t. However, for me, this was never a problem. I found the film actually stayed with me for longer. Mainly due to my contemplation on what might have happened before and what is yet to happen.


It never ceases to amaze me when a film like Moving-In-Law comes around. Here is a movie, a mere five-minutes long, that has more emotional clout and character depth than many big-budget, feature-length films of the same genre. And how is this achieved? By superb writing (both narrative and dialogue), great performances, and knowing one’s limits. This is fantastic short-film making, one that reminds us that short films aren’t just movies made on a budget. Instead, an entirely different kind of filmmaking.