Short Film Review “Queen’s Mile”

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First, the Recap:

Melancholy. Sudden downturns in our path can cause us to bear the weight of hollow, empty, despondent feelings and moods which accompany unforeseen and tragic events. It is the mournfulness, the heartbreak, of losing someone close, someone we dearly adored, which can especially impact our soul and give us pause about how and if we move beyond it. In London’s Southbank, one girl (Emerald O’Hanrahan) walks quietly but with purpose along the riverside, a look of sadness, and perhaps loneliness, spread across her face. Pausing to request a photographer (Rez Kempton) snap a pic of her in a specific spot, she continues her odyssey, taking an additional interlude to place the Polaroid-style image into a scrapbook.

The girl keeps on, coming to yet another location, taking a new picture herself, then once again halting to place it in her memory-laden tome while glancing at a list contained on one of its pages. Finally, a third photo taken thanks to a bystander, she completes her initial objective, though it is becoming more and more evident there is barely hidden pain being enduring while accomplishing her as yet unknown goal. With a still doleful countenance, she makes her way through visibly stifling crowds to a back street and stands frozen, gazing towards a lamppost on the other side, adorned with two bouquets. Finally moving towards it and ultimately placing items among the blooms, final recollections flood through her mind, revisiting love (Amrita Acharia), as a smile finally begins to break free.

Next, my Mind:

As this reviewer has indicated in the past, certain thematic elements contained in contemporary filmmaking aren’t usually in the wheelhouse.  However, full and absolute credit must be leveled to writer/director/co-executive producer Martin Delaney, whose 9-minute short film effort completely transcends any notions of agendas, orientations, or social statements, instead infusing his directorial debut with an undeniable, straightforward blanket of humanity.  Delivering a brilliantly subtle, effectively and emotionally raw, deeply and creatively nuanced effort, the viewer is swept up in this girl’s journey from start to finish in totally relatable ways. The beauty of London’s Southbank and The Queen’s Walk presents an initially contrasting tone when compared to this young woman’s achingly fervent endeavors until one truly embraces the narrative.

O’Hanrahan’s performance here as The Girl is without question fantastic, in that the understated execution of the role superbly fits such an affecting storyline.  Providing the character with a delicate, sometimes totally muted, sense of the true heartache being experienced, O’Hanrahan’s body language and emotive facial expressions throughout the film continually hone in on the inner storms the character faces, which had this reviewer in tears by the emotionally formidable yet ultimately hope-filled finale. While appearing via flashback for only a short amount of screen time, Acharia’s presence is no less important or impactful, presenting a poignant illustration of the depth of love and connection shared so innocently between two people, again, regardless of inclination or choice. This honestly anchors the entire tale extremely well.

The cameo appearance from Kempton places specific moments into perspective as we see the girl’s circumstances unfold, and the character’s own lack, perhaps, of understanding of what’s actually being captured in the images makes the points later on that much more vivid. Add the seriously powerful utilization of Lauren Aquilina’s song “Forest Fires” to the mix and the circle is now complete. In total, “Queen’s Mile” has accomplished something this reviewer feels isn’t common when it comes to LGBT themes like this–it isn’t what the film is actually about at all. What it is about is love, loss, dealing with heartrending sadness, finding ways to overcome it, then moving ahead with profoundly treasured memories that end up celebrating this thing we aim to experience fully and be thankful for–life.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

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