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Dream Big

average rating is 4 out of 5


William Hemingway


Posted on:

Apr 9, 2023

Film Reviews
Dream Big
Directed by:
Pip Swallow
Written by:
Pip Swallow
Rhoda Ofori-Attah, Steen Raskopoulos, Clive Anderson

Miranda (Ofori-Attah) is facing all of the usual issues that come with a regular job in the insurance sector. The infernal glass ceiling seems to hover just above her, covering over her skills, work ethic, experience and positive steps which she has taken in her work life. Once again it has stopped her from achieving advancement within the company and has limited her big dreams for herself. Instead, Mr Swift (Anderson) the bigwig head honcho at Swift Insurance has opted to bring in Tim to fill the position, proving once again that it's not what you know it's who you know that matters, and embedding the outdated hierarchical system of management in industry as an old boys' club.


Thankfully Miranda has an outlet for her frustrations in the form of the model railway and village which she plays with in the shed at the bottom of her garden. After the day's particularly frustrating events at work, Miranda huffs and puffs out all of her bluster onto a tiny little model which she has painted to represent the unworthy, job-stealing imbecile named Tim. With glee and abandon she lays him down onto the tracks, runs him over with an Intercity 125 (apologies to all the model buffs and trainspotters who know it was probably a different model of engine), and covers him in blood spatter – just enough to know that he was maimed and not killed.


In the morning, back at work, Miranda is surprised to learn that she'll be taking on the promoted post after all as it seems that Tim was indeed involved in a tragic train accident and will need rehabilitative therapy for months to come. After a quick double-check involving a delivery guy and a Katsu curry, Miranda then begins to wonder what else she could do with her new found power and eventually hits on the idea to Dream Big.


Writer/director Pip Swallow's twelve minute short film is as endearing as it is funny and introduces us to a wonderful new character in Miranda who is played sublimely by Rhoda Ofori-Attah. The style and direction keep things light and cheery, even when things are going dreadfully wrong, and the optimistically upbeat score from Dilettante (aka Francesca Pidgeon) fits in nicely to complement the visuals. There is a definite feel of Amelie (2001) to this short film, in the way that Swallow and her team collaborate to bring Miranda's story to life, but there are stronger elements from other big/small movies such as Welcome To Marwen (2018), Colossal (2016) and Synechdoche, New York (2008) which also play their part. The fact that Miranda's last name is Lilliput is also a nice touch.


There is a lot of care and attention which has gone into Dream Big and it shows in every scene. A kitsch kookiness is woven throughout the production which endears Miranda to the audience immediately and allows her story to breathe in all of the brilliant and unique directions that it needs to. Much like a model village each part of Dream Big is expertly crafted and painstakingly put together and in the end what Swallow and her team have managed is to create something that is more than the sum of its parts.

About the Film Critic
William Hemingway
William Hemingway
Short Film
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