Short Film Review “Strangers”

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First, the Recap:

Timing. If we find ourselves in a moment of need, a place where having the support from another in turbulent moments is longed for, and yet don’t seem to clearly see the avenues by which to attain such attention, hope can slip away, frustrations and loneliness instead taking over. Still, how often can it happen where in those same moments, someone unexpected could come along and fill that void? Ronald (Ronald Peet) is reminded of one whom he’s recently lost and very much treasured for years. Haunted by the decision he made, life moves forward, but filled with a desire to be loved, needed, or simply with companionship. Finally, he decides to get out for a spell.

On his soul-searching excursion, Ronald spots a young woman from a distance and ultimately feels some form of connection, despite her being a totally unfamiliar person. As he decides to go over to her, he catches the ending of a not-so-calm phone conversation she having, but manages to unobtrusively engage her to find out what troubles she’s facing. Rose (Rose Blanshei) finds herself talking away to Ronald about everything occurring in her life, as it becomes apparent two wandering and restless souls have found a unanticipated attraction. But, as the two continue to bond and the subject goes from Rose to Ronald’s current state of being, their attachment goes even deeper, touching the very heart of what it really is to be unpretentiously ourselves.

Next, my Mind:

The debut short film from Brooklyn-based indie writer/director Jessica Thoubboron presents a very emotional, candidly raw, yet also meaningfully understated portrayal of the search for significance, acceptance, and love within the context of two human beings finding each other at the perfect moment. It’s a simple study of how sometimes, there’s an ability to be more immediately open with someone you’ve just met, as there’s an uninhibited freedom uniquely found in first contact, that perhaps doesn’t remain when we deal with those we’ve known for at least years, if not a lifetime. Clarity can come from sharing with an individual so new and not familiar with our flaws, that the release of all the pent-up distress can be an attraction in itself, and blunt honesty paired with it can form an even more worthwhile and valid interconnection.

While each individually providing a solid overall performance in this 14-minute effort, the strength of the film’s message and delivery comes moreso from Peet and Blanshei’s scenes once together onscreen.  From the moment of actually meeting to everything that transpires from that point on, the two actors just blend so well together, giving Ronald and Rose realistic and heartfelt interactions as they traverse the shaky ground of unresolved inner turmoil, idealized visions of what things are supposed to be like vs. the harder, more complex, painful realities life is throwing at them, and do it all with unembellished, undisguised, and subdued passion and tenderness towards each other. It makes their meeting and reactions to things said much more plausible and undeniable, and perhaps therefore more relatable to viewers.

Overall, “Strangers”, with it’s well shot, straightforward cinematography, accompanying soundtrack, and unrestrained but not overdramatic glimpse into the lives of two regular people and the issues they end up disclosing to each other, stands as a wonderful new edition to the indie short film pantheon with its willingness to illustrate that real life isn’t always smooth sailing. But, in those times of hopelessness, you just never know who could come along to challenge and change your outlook for the better, as well as their own.

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



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