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Certain Essential Elements (2011)

| Short, Drama, Romance
0:56 | Trailer
Certain Essential Elements cleverly intersects the evening of two couples who find themselves at a crossroad in their lives and relationships. Whether stoic, sad, naive or excited, reality ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Michelle Butler ...
Daniel J. Mahoney ...
Husband / Doctor
Maria Barone ...
Sheila Mazzoline-Bolda ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Erin Courtney ...
Restaurant Patron / Doctor


Certain Essential Elements cleverly intersects the evening of two couples who find themselves at a crossroad in their lives and relationships. Whether stoic, sad, naive or excited, reality seems to catch up with all of them one blustery night. Written by Anonymous

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Short | Drama | Romance





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User Reviews

Drama, technique, and soul by Wes Cain Wescoast Reviews
26 September 2012 | by See all my reviews

I'm always on the look out for great indie material and luckily for me I was in the audience for a screening of Certain Essential Elements. At the end I was taken aback a little by how much i enjoyed this film. Stylistically the straight forward way it was shot added such dramatic tones to an already dramatic story that it was hard not to get sucked in from the beginning narration to the credits.

Certain Essential Elements follows the respective relationships of Lisa (Michelle Butler) and Clay (Axel Harney) and their chance encounter. Lisa is a woman living a double life. On one side of the coin she has to deal with the turmoil of an abusive marriage; on the other side she is the mistress of a business man named Don (Alex Safi). Just when things seemed to be looking up Don has an unexpected change of heart. Mean while Clay's girlfriend, Janna (Lauren Mae Shafer) meets him at a diner to tell him that she is leaving town. As both relationships collapse it comes to light that Clay and Lisa's lives were bound to intersect.

Having virtually only two sets, the success of Certain Essential Elements rides on the brilliant setup and execution of the larger narrative. There are a couple scenes that only last for a few seconds but they add so much depth to the story, Lisa's in particular, as they provide some back-story along with Clay's narration. I was impressed by the subtle cinematography and absolutely beautiful editing, which combined together offered up a dynamic finished product.

It's Obvious that Michelle Butler doesn't have much acting experience, however, she handles her character well. There were a few times where i would have liked have seen her put a bit more "umph" into her delivery, but she never fails to express the fact she is a wounded woman. Axel Harney is great as Clay. His performance was excellently measured. Its a good thing his acting is so strong otherwise he would've felt totally underutilized aside from basically telling the story. Alex Safi and Lauren Mae Shafer do well in their supporting roles, playing well opposite their respective counterparts.

Certain Essential Elements is a short film worth looking up. The characters are as rich as they can be given the runtime and the story is perfectly accentuated by great camera work. All of these things are predicated by an awesome script thanks to writer & director Jeffery Schultz. There aren't very many short movies that have the ability to grab my attention from start to finish (and not just because of my staggeringly short attention span) nevertheless, Certain Essential Elements will not disappoint.

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