Charming and natural (ok, maybe a bad choice of words – but it is a lovely little short film)
The Perils etc is about high school student Katya who is blest with a slim sporty physique but as yet has not developed anything that you would call a chest. As she finds herself attracted to her science project partner Owen, she realizes that the chance is there for something to happen, which leads her to turn to her more, erm, "blessed" friend Leigh for advice.
As a man in his later 30's I wasn't sure whether this short film would work for me since not only is it a coming-of-age tale focused on an American-Asian girl, but it is particularly focused on the body image of that girl – so I'm not exactly target audience that Kuang had in mind when she made this. That said I am glad I gave it a go because it is such a lovely little film that I cannot image it not working on a viewer even if they are outside of the gender/race/age demographic. The plot is pretty straightforward but it is done with real charm and a light touch that makes the material work well; it is never hilarious but it is warmly humorous in its tone and I found it really easy to enjoy.
Part of this is the lead performance from Choi because she is convincing and very natural in the character, making the lines and situations more believable and engaging. She is on the screen the whole film and it is better for her. Wolpert and Boze are not quite as good but still do what is needed from them in the film. The writing from Kuang is very good, getting the tone and dialogue right, while as director she gives the film a professional air but also a warm look and feel which helps the material.
It isn't earth shattering but it is a lovely little coming-of-age story that is done with a natural, warm air and a lot of charm in the production and in the lead performance from Choi.
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