This five minute film is a wicked delight and everything that a good short should be. Funny, dark and ending with a twist, it centers around the daily routine of two elderly women; one who listens and one who talks. The problem with the talker, Miriam (Kathleen Tierney), is that she never learns. But that is all about to change. Mary (Irene Wright), as narrator,tells us how her long time friend turns up at her house every morning after eight o'clock mass and launches into a non-stop whine, puffing on cigarette after cigarette, huffing and blowing smoke right into Mary's face. Mary never gets a word in except when obliged to respond, which she does with common sense advice that is never taken. There are hilarious snatches of nonsense from Miriam in gaps in the narration like "I don't hear the coal-man shouting ho-ah to his horse from my bedroom window!". Whatever that means, it certainly gives us an idea of the inanity that Mary has to put up with. When Mary gets some very unpleasant news about herself, she tells Miriam. The careless response is enough for Mary. Though she can point to Miriam as the likely cause of her problem, it's the response that puts Mary over the edge. It's time to teach Miriam a lesson. And what a lesson!
Using a single room for the entire scene, Director & Writer Laura Way, manages to to use the space imaginatively by focusing on specific items and then pulling away; a cigarette, Mary's passive weariness, a wide shot followed by a reaction from Miriam, for example. There is a glow, too, to the camera work suggesting a homely environment which belies what is to come. Rory Coleman's opening whimsical music is redolent of an old-time waltz and hints at the kind of fun we are about to encounter. There is an interesting feature to the constant background noise. People who stay at home all day often have the radio for company and we hear it throughout in this short which on the one hand parallels Miriam's monotone but also indicates a kind of gnawing loneliness.
Ms. Way turns and shapes her story with cheeky warmth and and has a wonderful eye for the subtleties in relationships such as in the epilogue at the end. The craft in this short, not just in the production values, but in the obvious care in intertwining the narrative as a stream of thought right into the story that is affected by what's happening in the scene, puts Ms. Way into that higher echelon of smart, creative film making. Ms. Wright, as Mary and narrator, rarely speaks within the scene but her ability to hide her thoughts from Miriam while completely exposing them to us is a talented accomplishment. Ms. Tierney's Miriam successfully creates the ould one you love to hate. We've all neighbours like her, They talk and talk and talk. When she gets what's coming to her, I felt a secret snickering delight.
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