WATCH THE FILM HERE
First, the Recap:
Imaginary friends. As children, let’s be honest, we all at some juncture had one. It opened up a world of possibility to have that secret, make-believe person, who only we could see, be a source of innocent fun, comfort, and fantastical adventures, right in the confines of our own space. For one young boy (Calum Heath), as he plays and frolics with toys in the back yard of his suburban home, there is one such friend he conjures in the form of an adult man (Kieran O’Reilly).
Sharing the simple bond of friendship, the man takes the boy to amazing places just by engaging in hide-and-seek, but also via telling stories and capturing the child’s sense of amazement at the world around him, especially when talking about the sky and stars and places there the man has been. In the midst of these day-into-evening exploits, the boy’s mother (Kojii Helnwein) attempts to call him inside, but to no avail, and so allows him to remain in his own little world.
Even as the night has come and the struggles she is facing seem to be mounting, there is comfort knowing that her child is safe, secure, and ever so deeply loved.
Next, my Mind:
Writer/co-director Daire Glynn and his directing partner Ger Duffy author one of the most overtly affecting short films this reviewer has seen, delivering a powerfully stirring testament to the importance of unconditional love, the depth of relationships, and the winning influence of seeking to embrace the mind’s ability to create fanciful visions for the benefit of well-being and solace. Watching the boy’s intensely focused joy and freedom when interacting with his invisible friend is pure, unadulterated bliss, as it represents that age of unblemished, faultless happiness we so often lose as adults. But, the film doesn’t shy away from also illustrating the frustration and sense of hesitancy being felt by his mother when trying to connect with her son in the real world, and therefore puts the human facet front and center as well.
Heath is simply adorable as the Boy, so relaxed, smiling, jubilant, and lighthearted, immersed in his own realm of time, space, and engagement, whether with his toys or with his invented pal. It is indeed, as mentioned prior, a pure view of childhood and the worlds to explore found within, real or otherwise. O’Reilly’s role as the Man is also effectively portrayed, being a beacon of light, fun, and source of knowledge for the boy, keeping him inquisitive, while additionally being a large part of the child’s awareness of himself and even who he can be. It’s the sheer beauty of comradery and needed connection with another, making the pair’s time together a pleasure to witness. Helnwein rounds out the proceedings as the boy’s mother, whose outward concerns and evident inner strife makes for an interesting dynamic in the greater narrative.
Wonderfully shot, full of emotion, and delivering an emotive finale that will greatly move your heart and impact the tear ducts, “Little Bear” certainly deserves the awards its received to date and is a must-see effort that addresses so much of what it means to let go and, at least sometimes, allow the fanciful to become reality for a time.
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!