Short Film Review “The Waiting Room”



First, the Recap:

Time on the earth has ended, and the transition from life to the afterlife has commenced. We so often look at things from the perspective of those left behind on this world when a loved one passes, but have we ever considered seeing things from the opposite viewpoint? For Janet (Jennifer Jiles), the release from her mortal coil has come unexpectedly and with great dismay in general, as she finds herself in Heaven, waiting for her husband Tim (Ciaran Sheehan) to arrive. Expectation, to say the least, abounds within Janet for their eternal reunion.

However, when Tim does ultimately show, events take a turn when he is also accompanied by his new wife, Ann (Heather Brittain O’Scanlon). With an angel named Kieran (Justin L. Wilson) and his assistant Angelique (Noelle Yatauro) attempting to play intermediaries, Janet finds herself quite at odds with facing her beloved alongside another woman, and soon, tensions boil over. But, as the proceedings take a calming turn, realizations come out about the real meanings of love.

Next, my Mind:

For writer/director/co-producer Debra Markowitz, this 12-minute short film isn’t some random excuse to utilize the concept/existence of Heaven as a cliché or overwrought mockery of the afterlife, but rather a dramatic and lightly comedic approach to illustrating just how petty we can be as people, frankly, even after death apparently. Painting a picture of just how much we can overreact to a situation without even taking the time to fully understand or hear the actual truth of it all is very candidly showcased here, but then gets accentuated with a heartfelt tone that brings the narrative around to the characters embracing realities they faced in life, are brought to completion in death, and then are released from, even if there’s still a little playful stab at the underlying discontent displayed, always for a chuckle. A straightforward, one-setting visual presentation keeps the story flowing and focused on the characters involved throughout, which to this reviewer is always a strength of independent filmmaking. The viewer is treated to both conflict and resolution, and what better notion of life overall could there be?

Jiles both hams it up and turns on the drama in her role as Janet, a wife stuck in a waiting room (perhaps even a picture of Purgatory, perhaps?) pining for her soulmate to join her for all time, but then getting a rather abrupt shock when seeing him come into the afterlife with another woman on his arm. The character’s reactions to this is honestly typical of so many situations we’ve seen portrayed, or even played out in real life possibly, as we never want to totally embrace the idea of a loved one moving on with their lives after we’re gone, especially in a relationship sense.  But, it is this dilemma Janet has to deal with, and with the right coaxing does, to a healing degree, all played very well and with fun energy by Jiles. Sheehan gives a solid performance as well here as Tim, Janet’s husband who has to be the one to reveal he’d moved on in life after her passing, and whom has to then be stuck in the middle of some catty attitudes between his leading ladies at first.  But, as he soon is allowed to express how he feels about Janet and of course the reasoning behind his new wife, it brings him his own needed peace and satisfaction of showing Janet his love for her never faded, all well-played by Sheehan.

O’Scanlon has the humorously dubious honor of playing Tim’s second wife Ann, whose initial reactions to Janet’s resentment is overtly possessive until the whole conversation is brought down to a more civilized mood. And like Janet and Tim, Ann has her moment of accepting how much Tim always loved Janet even after she was gone and he had moved on, and likewise, it’s all played to good effect by O’Scanlon. Wilson is a riot as the impromptu, rather unwilling, but totally necessary, peacemaking angel Kieran, who very much gets tested to the “nth” degree in having to moderate an initially out of control, constantly escalating situation until cooler heads prevail and he is able to impart his own wisdom into matters. Also in the midst of the “fun” is Kieran’s assistant Angelique, enacted smartly and with understated finesse by Yatauro, who gets to inject some deadpan one-liners in the mix that certainly invoke a laugh.  In total, “The Waiting Room” stands as a good example of indie film’s ability to take any subject matter and find a newfangled means to present it, making it entertaining yet meaningful.

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



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