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A Moral Man

Critic:

Alasdair MacRae

|

Posted on:

7 Jun 2022

Film Reviews
A Moral Man
Directed by:
Paul Wade & Simon Wade
Written by:
Paul Wade & Simon Wade
Starring:
Toby Jones, Claudie Blakley
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A priest (Toby Jones) arrives at a cancer-stricken patient’s (Claudie Blakley) house to assist in euthanasia, however, there are complications.

 

In A Moral Man writer-directors Paul and Simon Wade are not afraid to ask the big questions. The particular ethical quandary thrown up in the middle of this short is one that many would not dare to touch. It is a dark and necessary look into our society and an issue where a fair and measured answer might not even exist.

 

One thing that can be said for certain is, cast Toby Jones and you shall reap the rewards of your excellent decision. When is he ever anything less than magnificent? A recent appearance in Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow as a scene stealing, clafoutis ordering landowner all but confirmed that the actor makes everything he is in markedly better. For this short he is a priest and a firm believer in the right-to-die movement. The titular ‘Moral Man’, a kind albeit burdened soul. It is clear that he desires to comfort his patient, and that he feels righteous in his path. He claims to have had first-hand experience of the euphoric sensation of an afterlife following a near-death-experience as a child. Nonetheless, the weight of the absolute nature of death seems too large for him to fully conceal. Claudie Blakley stars opposite him as a patient who has prepared thoroughly for this moment, but even then that is not enough. She may have packed up her house and labelled her belongings with whom she wishes to take them after she has passed on, but her glassy eyes lay bare her reservations.

 

A Moral Man grapples with death and the decision to die on a grand philosophical plane, whilst also recognising that death is an everyday reality and will in fact be a part of all of our lives. The ordinary can be seen in the dim grey light of overcast British skies occupying the windows of the semi-detached house. It can be felt in the comfort of the outdated furnishings and a modest last meal of beans on toast. But as the film reaches its most contentious point the lighting then becomes more motivated, close ups, particularly of Jones, are striking and the film eventually graduates to a rich climactic tableau worthy of the themes discussed.

 

Another exemplary Toby Jones performance enhances this moving and controversial short film. A Moral Man is an accomplished feat from writer-directors Paul and Simon Wade as they attempt to sincerely raise a difficult ethical question.

About the Film Critic
Alasdair MacRae
Alasdair MacRae
Short Film