May 2, 2022
Jamie Cox, Timothy J. Cox
Timothy J. Cox
Timothy J. Cox, Nancy Kellogg Gray, Matthew Harris, Becca Robinson, Bob Rutan, Heidi Swarthout
The pandemic was, and still is, hard for all of us. We spent nearly a year shut up inside, away from friends and family, not allowed to see the people we loved. We missed the general flow of day to day life, we missed eating out at restaurants, we missed going to the cinema. For better or worse, we also missed going into the office.
Dr. Peter Marcus (Timothy J. Cox) is a therapist, struggling through his series of zoom calls to patients and clients just like the rest of us. Just like the rest of us he has good moments and he has bad moments. You can tell the pressure of being helplessly cooped up indoors is getting to him. ‘Live Health’ does a good job of presenting Dr. Marcus as a human character, but becomes stale early on and stays that way due to its uncompromising nature.
It gets to the stage, after three different - all bland - virtual sessions, that you don’t care for the fourth, which is the important one that we’re supposed to care about. The film is steadfastly committed to giving each patient ample screen time to air their problems, which is detrimental to the pacing, which is sometimes slow and laborious - not what you want from a nine minute short. That’s not to say that the problems of the first three characters are trivial - they’re not by any stretch of the imagination - but they don’t unlock Dr Marcus in any shape or form, which means that by the fourth patient, he’s still a blank canvas. So when the fourth patient, Lincoln (Bob Rutan) appears, he’s left with far too much to paint in too short a time, and the end result is patchy.
To its credit, ‘Live Health’ does have a lot to say about mental health, and it gets most of it across cleanly, but again too much is left to the fourth patient. Notice, how I’m not saying final - there’s one more to remind us that anyone can struggle with their mental health, no matter how they come across.
As well as starring, Timothy J.Cox wrote and directed the film alongside husband Jamie Cox, and they handle the camera well. Films revolving around zoom calls or the internet in general, never tend to come off cleanly and they certainly never look particularly aesthetically pleasing, but for what it is ‘Live Health’ does a competent job.
Cox, and all the other actors, fare well, especially when you consider that all of the dialogue was improvised. It certainly doesn’t come off that way and is credit to the quick thinking of Nancy Kellogg Gray, Matthew Harris, Becca Robinson and Bob Rutan who all present their characters issues in a clear, well thought out manner.
‘Live Health’ lacks a spark to bring its human characters to life, suffering from pacing issues (which is worrying in a film of its length) and an overall lack of anything special. The cast and crew do well, but the film ultimately suffers from the single-minded nature of its approach, so intent to tell a story that it forgets to explore characters until its too late.