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One for Sorrow Short Film Review


Directed by: #BennyWatson


A seemingly sweet tale of an old man who is an avid birdwatcher, living an easy life with his wife. There days are consumed by cooking for one another, dancing in their living room and taking a short drive to the forest to listen to the harmonic tunes of the birds. Unfortunately, as the story develops, we quickly learn that there is something amiss within this elderly man’s life. Although not completely obvious, the audience quickly establishes the subtle hints throughout this short film and our response changes dramatically from happiness to empathy for our protagonist. Benny Watson’s One for Sorrow adds a dark layer to this film and draws out the realities for someone suffering with dementia and what a day-to-day life looks like for some people.

Stanley resides in the countryside, completely isolated from society and lives in a beautifully grand home. From the beginning, it becomes clear that Stanley is a gentle soul with simple pleasures in life. The film is black and white which at first appeared to not fit the scenes, however, it became obvious that this was intentional and reflected the dark undertones that lied beneath. Stanley was often seen speaking with his wife, this was either general chit chat regarding their dinner or the birds singing in the forest and even dancing together in the living room. Nevertheless, something appeared off about their relationship, his wife never spoke a word and the audience could never see her face. She was merely an image on screen that only Stanley was able to interact with and receive any form of response. As we witnessed more interactions they had with one another, there were hints that made it clear that Stanley’s wife was no longer around. She had no reflection in the mirror and the birds would not respond to her calls, only Stanley.

It was these subtleties that really set this film a part and sent a powerful message. Stanley’s vision and the audiences were disconnected, and this really blurred the lines between reality and imaginary. The viewer was unable to trust anything that was on screen, however, to Stanley, this was his world, and his wife was with him always. He remained content within this bubble he had created, until reality began to break in, and he was entrapped in this state of confusion. This was a hard-hitting film that places the viewer in a person with dementias shoes, unable to determine reality from fantasy and the emotional and heavy struggles that come with the disease.

One for Sorrow is a poignant film that expresses the hardships of living with dementia in a sensitive and powerful way. It was a truly touching, mesmeric character based short film that can be seen as bittersweet in a way by highlighting one man’s journey with dementia, and reliving memories his life.


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