In lesser hands this plot could have been something very different: a woman (Margaret) caring for her Alzheimer's-suffering mother Fran answers a knock on the door and finds a woman (Janet) around the same age who claims to have received a letter from Fran telling her to come and learn something about her family. Fran stuns both with the suggestion that they were swapped at birth. This scene is fodder for a soap-opera and on the Hallmark Channel the music would be swelling up even now and everyone would be in overacting hysterics on the way to a resolution which comes through the pain to find something much more beautiful. That is not this short film.
Instead what we have is a very tight and restrained film which feels much more like real life in many regards. In terms of the narrative, it doesn't answer everything and, in the sense of start/middle/end, it doesn't provide satisfactory closure – but I stress, only in the sense of wanting to go in and get out clean. It actually does satisfy in regard to the way the story is told because the unfolding is engaging in how honest and convincing it is. I liked a great deal that although it was an unlikely situation, that the characters felt real and the decision they make feel real – flawed perhaps, but that is real life.
Aesthetically the film matches this approach because the musty house comes across and looks the part, while the performances also work. Peterson is the main place because her performance convinces in the "work" aspect of caring – you can feel it on her as she stands or talks, there is love but there is also that tiredness too. Christopher is good too, but has less to work with, while Benson feels more like a plot device and while good, her character is necessary rather than key. The whole thing is delivered with a responsible and balanced approach which feels natural, pained, restrained and convincing. It leaves a lot open and it doesn't do much outside of this specific scene, but in the delivery it is very effective.
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