15 Oct 2021
Holly Hajbok, Haylie Jones, Dru Jones, Ray William Butler
A poignant story about a six-year-old girl who is being neglected by her mother.
Alice (Hajbok) is the young daughter of single mother Tracy (Jones). Tracy claims to love her, however, she is an irresponsible parent and that is seen several times. She fails to pick Alice up after school, she makes her wait in a room full of slot machines, she swears in front of her child, she is rude and mean towards her and she generally does not go to great lengths to take care of her. Alice is forced to deal with her mum's unacceptable behaviour and Tracy does not appear to understand that her parenting is flawed.
The narrative of WanderLand explores the relationship between Alice and Tracy and directly reveals how the child is ignored by her mum. Tracy takes her daughter here and there and makes her wait time and time again, not showing any remorse for her actions. Things get rather dramatic when Tracy is walking along the beach with a man she just met and Alice falls behind, subsequently getting lost.
The mood is rather sad throughout the film and the audience will most likely sympathise with the little girl as she suffers from her mother's neglect and they will disapprove of Tracy as a parent. However, Tracy's better side is also shown, although it is not a side of her that she shows often. People's kindness is also present when Alice is looking for her mother and is approached by two constables who are kind to her.
Hajbok delivers an emotional performance as a gentle, innocent little girl who is unfortunate to have an uncaring mother. The world is seen through Alice's eyes and the viewer feels for her and wants things to get better for her. Jones is quite convincing as a person who does not appear to know how to be a responsible parent.
Pott does a great job with the direction and the cinematography by Fraser Oxlee is wonderful. Composer Richard Collins creates a mesmerizing and beautiful score, which along with Kim Moore's vocals, develops a melancholic atmosphere. The filmmakers also make effective use of sound techniques, with the sound of slot machines, waves and rain being quite strong.
This short drama will most likely move the audience. With an unhappy but intriguing plot, beautiful cinematography and great acting, this accomplishment deserves a great deal of praise and recognition.