Short Film Review “Stuck In Mute”

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First, the Recap:

Silence. They say it can speak volumes. They say it alone speaks louder than words. Yet, what if this silence comes from both choice and circumstance? What if it is both anxiety and specific situations that drive it? What if it is the world you existed in? Robin (Katie Kleiger) finds herself in such a place, a daily routine where the society around her expects her to talk, to interact, but situations and her disorder prevent it. Always listening, whether through a pair of headphones or within the uneasy arena of her therapist’s (Molly Ryman) group sessions, loneliness and solitude ultimately remain her only constants.

However, this unexpectedly and radically changes when Robin meets Jay (Gavin Nienaber), a young boy who seems to share a similar, selectively vocal reality. When their initial introduction turns into a series of unanticipated encounters, both playful and tense for both of them, what transpires ultimately is an awakening that shows each the power of friendship and how the right words, however few, can end up holding transformative strength and meaning.

Next, my Mind:

Writer/director/producer/editor Shane Meuwissen launches into his debut short film effort with complete and utter intention to make himself and the world of Selective Mutism disorder known with a powerful, emotionally-packed, and just plain fearless narrative that is sure to make a splash at the festivals it is destined for. Showcasing smooth cinematography, well-written content, and perfectly-cast filmmaking, the story moves fast and will draw the viewer in from beginning to its pathos-laden finale with a reality that cannot be denied, making us see our human world through the eyes of those whose voice may not be consistent, but is no less potent.

Kleiger and Nienaber are wonders in the respective roles of Robin and Jay, two young people in this day and age of complete communications overload, yet so much of it which says and means nothing. Encompassed by their disorder and choices to only speak in rare times when alone or to only specific people, the two actors so efficiently “verbalize” via their actions, facial expressions, and unheard words it just impacts the viewer so heavily. Well-orchestrated supporting turns by Ryman as a somewhat beleaguered but determined therapist and Sara Marsh as Jay’s concerned mother whose own understanding of her son’s condition gets altered in a single moment, are excellent.

In total, “Stuck In Mute” will stand as yet another testament to the complete beauty, creativity, and true heart found in independent film, and I know this reviewer has said that about many indie films over time. Well, until it isn’t the case anymore, it will keep being said.

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



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