Angie, a high school senior in a small rural town gets accepted to a big college in NYC. Now, she must decide whether to tell her parents about her desire to study music in a big city far away for fear they won't understand.
Many filmmakers are driven to create stories that mirror their own experiences and choices and Brian Pittala’s coming of age story of a young girl at a major crossroads is no exception. The aim is to take those moments of choice that feel very specific to you and present them as the universal experience that they actually are. Pittala along with his cast and crew do a fantastic job with this as they present us with Angie (Sera Barbieri) a precocious young woman with one foot still very much in the freedom of youth. As she grapples with the option presented to her to travel to New York and potentially realise her dream of working in music, the story establishes, then slowly unravels the trappings of childhood, leaving in its place the terrifying spectre of choice and accountability.
The film makes no bones about having to spend time on character set-up. With a running time of 22 and a half minutes, this is on the long side for a short film, but none of those minutes are wasted. Pittala’s script establishes the vital character dynamics that play into Angie’s ultimate dramatic question – pursue her creative potential or secure financial stability. Her dual-edged relationship with her parents essentially embodies the choice before her as her mother leaves her with job applications to fill out on her way to her job, while her father unabashedly supports her music while struggling with unemployment.
Angie’s decision-making journey leads her to seek the advice of her best friend, Lily (Amelia Samson) whose largely unsuccessful attempts at being a responsible high school senior acts as a great foil for Angie, forcing her to reveal her carefree childishness and confront the reality in front of her. Sampson and Barbieri have fantastic chemistry, selling their deep friendship whether through heartfelt conversations or sneaking free pizza from Lily’s job. The film very much feels like a last hurrah of childhood and their dynamic sells that brilliantly. This is augmented by Pittala employing a visual and musical style very reminiscent of early 2000s comedic sentimental dramas like Garden State, perfectly capturing the emotional dichotomy of living in the moment of youth but with it already feeling like a memory.
The music choices paired with the cinematography serves to elevate an already personal and emotionally earnest story and does so with a maturity and narrative pacing that makes you feel like you have been watching a feature film rather than a short. This is a great example of the kind of drama that sticks to its guns in terms of what it wants to explore but does not overindulge in how much “movie” it can put on screen. Nothing is presented that we do not need to experience and Pittala, also pulling editing duties ensures that the story continues to move apace while still taking time to let crucial moments land.
This is a relatable, nostalgic and engaging movie that has no qualms about smacking you right in the feels. It is very easy for the audience to overlay their own lives onto Angie’s journey, which makes it a great choice for anyone looking for a movie that they feel understands the universal experience of taking a chance on yourself.
Studio: BPitty Films | Year: 2022 | Genre: Comedy/Drama | Duration: 22 Mins | Suitability: Mature
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