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average rating is 3 out of 5


Joe Beck


Posted on:

Mar 18, 2024

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Teddy Nygh
Written by:
Alex Tenenbaum
Rosa Coduri-Fulford, Richie Campbell, Ben Bailey Smith, Denise Gough

Every year, normally around Christmas time, a slew of charities release short films or adverts both as an appeal for donations and in order to raise awareness of whatever issue they wish to put in the spotlight. These issues often range from international affairs - be it war, or famine, or the consequences of a major natural disaster - to those far closer to home - loneliness, poverty, or indeed, homelessness. ‘NADIA’ isn’t one of those adverts per se, however, it plays much like an extended version of one, both to its merit and to its detriment.


‘NADIA’ hits all the emotional beats and heartstrings that those adverts are supposed to reach. It has a likeable, if deeply troubled main protagonist, the titular Nadia, played marvellously by Rosa Coduri-Fulford, whom we connect to more as her troubles are revealed. Initially it would be simple to interpret Nadia as a bratty teenage girl, unfocused on her schoolwork and purposefully disruptive in her maths lessons, which are taught by Ben Bailey Smith, but, drawing back the curtains on her life, we come to understand the problems in her personal life.


The film, directed with confidence by Teddy Nygh, promotes the issue of homelessness, particularly in young people, and outlines both the causes of this terrible problem, and the ways in which help is available. Nadia becomes homeless when kicked out of her own house by her equally troubled mother, played by Denise Gough, and is forced to live rough, spending a night on a park bench, trying to revise for her exams by her phone torch. Following the beats of the aforementioned adverts, Nadia’s aid comes in the form of one of her teachers, played charismatically by Richie Campbell, who finds her on a park bench and sets out to find her a home.


Though not by any fault of Campbell’s, who is pretty good with the one-dimensional material he has to work with, it is in his character that ‘NADIA’s flaws are exposed, with the detrimental aspect of being so similar to charity adverts revealing itself. Campbell’s character exists solely to reel off lines about the depth of the homelessness problem in the UK and to demonstrate how support is out there, at one point even breaking the fourth wall to address the audience directly. The character takes the film away from being a narrative driven drama, in which the struggles of homelessness and possible solutions are demonstrated subtly, and pushes it into the realm of awareness campaign. It’s a character that works to raise awareness and push donations, but fails to elevate the film as what it is, a piece of drama.


That isn’t too say that his message, and indeed the message of the film is unimportant and shouldn’t be heard. In fact, on a human level, if as a result of this film and that character a young person like Nadia is helped off the street and away from rough sleeping, then it is important and good. Whilst the lack of drama towards the film’s end is frustrating, it is understandable, and does not significantly detract from what is a well directed and especially well acted film with a poignant theme and message to get across.

About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Short Film
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