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average rating is 3 out of 5


Swati Verma


Posted on:

Mar 28, 2022

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Jim Mcmorrow
Written by:
Jim Mcmorrow
Philip Rafferty, Keenan Dunleavey, Rachel Murray

The name "Upside" has connotations of some unusual situation that needs to be dealt with. The font of the title of the film is cleverly been chosen by the director Jim Mcmorrow to lighten the mood of the audience while he addresses the topic of Down's syndrome. The DOP Michael Reynolds shakes the camera slightly to denote the upheaval in their lives as a family unit. The close mid-shot used by the cameraman to establish the bond between the mother and two brothers that makes up the basic building block of the narrative of the film. The audience eagerly waits to see how the dynamics between the three characters change over the running time of the film. The script of the film is very well written around a major health issue that needs to be discussed. The continuity factor of the storyline plays a crucial role to keep the essence of the gripping yet emotional tale the director is trying to convey.


The plot of the short film revolves around a young man suffering from Down's syndrome who attempts to gain some independence on his 18thbirthday from the overprotective yet loving mother. Will Stephen get the normal life he has always craved for?


In the performances department, I want to first talk about Matul McGibbon the child artist who plays the young Dylan. He manages to switch effortlessly from being excited for his new-born brother to becoming more of a responsibility-driven person later on. The sense of maturity and understanding of the script by the young actor is commendable. Next, I want to talk about Keenan Dunleavey who essays the role of Stephen. The struggles within him to fit into society seems real and relatable to the audience. The character desperately wanting some sense of normalcy in life is portrayed with utmost realism. Phillip Rafferty is the older Dylan. Phillip makes sure he keeps his body language close to Matul McGibbon while playing the grownup Dylan so that the viewers don’t perceive him as a completely different character. Phillip effortlessly imbibes the various aspects of Dylan's personality. Rachel Murray is the mother of Dylan and Stephen in the short film. She displays a range of emotions. Murray is a loving mother yet transforms into an overprotective guardian when her insecurities about losing her younger son crop up. The viewers sympathize with the mother but also want her to deal with life situations better.


The colour palette, lighting are kept natural while the music is intense in a few sequences where specific crucial details are shared with the audience so that the viewers feel involved with the storyline and don't lose out on the message the film delivers at the end.


Upside movie shows the viewers how one is very much capable of finding happiness in any given situation in life. Family becomes the ultimate support system no matter what we are experiencing. It is very crucial to understand, respect, and give the desired space to everyone to coexist peacefully.

About the Film Critic
Swati Verma
Swati Verma
Short Film
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