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average rating is 3 out of 5


Chris Olson


Posted on:

Nov 26, 2023

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Michael Kearney
Written by:
Michael Kearney
Emma Coles, Kaylah Copeland

Spoiler warning

A visually and emotionally arresting short film from filmmaker Michael Kearney, Dawn captures the intense coexistence of terror and hope when one finally declares one’s heartfelt love for someone else and you must await their response.

Friends Eve (Emma Coles) and Lucy (Kaylah Copeland) have been discussing the former’s interest in a mystery person. As Lucy barrages Eve in person and via text with questions about who it is and why she isn't just telling them, it becomes a tense build-up resulting in Eve just telling Lucy that it is indeed her that Eve has feelings for.

Having let her know via text message in the small hours of the night, Eve must now painstakingly await a response, torturing herself with thoughts about a ruined friendship or a potentially enhanced relationship. She questions the logic of her decision and also the repercussions of not taking a shot at all, as the clock ticks and it becomes more likely that Lucy has awoken to the all-telling text message.

Kearney utilises intimate framing and an ethereal score (from David Ford) to submerge the viewer into Eve’s romantic crisis. As her future with Lucy hangs in the balance, Eve ponders her actions whilst regularly revisiting a subtle hand on her thigh when they were recently together. This visual signal provides the audience with a firm footing whilst the short film delves into an array of historical footage and even a spacescape to reflect Eve’s frenetic state of mind and the…ahem…Dawn of a new chapter in her life.

The use of Eve's internal monologue is potently worded, grappling with her decision and yet coming to terms with it, as well as describing the agonizing wait of the reply that is yet to come. Many will find Eve’s anxiety familiar and connect with her mental distress, especially if they have ever delivered an “I love you” for the first time when not physically with the other person.

Tonally, the film does seem to strive for a unique mix of heartfelt emotional drama dressed with sci-fi trappings. The result doesn't completely click, as the intense music and archive footage seem like a distraction from the viewer's real intrigue which is Eve’s state of mind. What some viewers may find is a lack of scenes between Eve and Lucy in person, to really flesh out the depth of the former's longing to be more than friends.

Both performances are strong, delivering a believable and engaging chemistry on screen and Coles does well in the solo scenes to keep the human element strong whilst the visuals take a left turn. Dawn is a good short film from a promising cast and crew.

About the Film Critic
Chris Olson
Chris Olson
Short Film
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