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Once a clown

average rating is 3 out of 5


Swati Verma


Posted on:

May 25, 2022

Film Reviews
Once a clown
Directed by:
Murphy Rhodes
Written by:
Murphy Rhodes
Murphy Rhodes, Joe Welsh, Neil MacDonald

The short film-Once a clown refers to the stage of life where people have to play various roles and leave when the time comes and how this is affecting the protagonist Richard Plews (Murphy Rhodes). The narrative of the film attempts to show the mirror to the audience by showcasing the social evils that exist in society even now.


The storyline of the movie revolves around a universe where the clowns are considered an ethnic minority, and the recently divorced father of one Richard Plews battles against inequality and alcoholism.


In the opening sequence of the cinematic piece the director-writer Murphy Rhodes comes up with a radio conversation to establish the subject matter as well as increase the degree of audience engagement with the film. The set design, lighting, costume, hair, makeup and the dialogues all the elements indicate a messy lifestyle Richard Plews has and therefore is unable to meet his only son. The mid, close-up, and the tracking shot used by the cinematographer Ben Chan captures the physical and emotional struggles the father has to go through to strike a perfect balance between his professional duties and personal life. The flashback is used effectively to strengthen the emotional connection of the viewers with Richard Plews. The audience wants Richard to be on the winning side and hence they are surprised and at the same time happy with the climax of the movie.


In terms of performance, Murphy Rhodes plays the role of Richard Plews. Rhodes portrays the longing and pain of not being able to meet his son with utmost honesty. The anger and frustration on the face of the actor are evident as Plews is trying hard to fight against all the restrictions forced upon him by the community and concentrate on spending quality time with his family.

Laura Cotter as Rachel Denton is a very strong woman, partner and capable mother but she becomes a little helpless with the social pressure. Cotter picks up the nuances of her character and she proves to be a pillar of emotional support for both Richard and Mark.

Joe Welsh plays Doc who is bound by the rules of the society and yet she wants to help Richard. Though Welsh have a very small role to contribute to the plot of the creative piece but this character communicates the mindset of the society that the makers of the film are trying to put across to the audience.


The short film-Once a clown sheds light on the topic of discrimination and also talks about the condition of the ethnic minority group. The cinematic piece highlights how every person thinks of themselves as superior. The movie also tells the audience about the importance of dealing with children with a lot of sensitivity when it comes to burdening them with certain norms of our social circle. It also beautifully showcases the various perspectives of people on one's martial as well as social status.

In my opinion Society needs to change with the changing times and Cinema can become this medium of bringing about the desired modification we all want to witness.

About the Film Critic
Swati Verma
Swati Verma
Short Film
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