Everyone has experienced loss. The grieving process is natural and the cemetery an all too familiar place for most. "Graveyard Girl", as the title would allude to, starts off in cemetery, and it ends there too. And strangely enough--these are the scenes that feel most comfortable. Dahlia sits and draws pictures of the graves. It's her safe haven.
When we find her at home, life is chaotic. Fights with Mom and Step-dad. An adorable (but feisty) little sister that drives her crazy. The darkest scene finds her lying in her bed, a small razor blade hidden in her hand--and luckily the knock of the door brings her back to this reality, and prevents any further scars. But the scars are already there. We all have them. Dahlia just can't seem to get past them.
And then one chance meeting, one small moment, seems to change everything. And no--it's not one of those big, boisterous life-altering moments that seem to live in lesser movies. It's quiet and subtle, but real. Everything feels right. Right up until the end and the final movement when Dahlia seems to finally grow into something different, and the person she needs most is by her side.
This is a really strong short film. Great production value (beautiful widescreen cinematography, clear sound, nice musical touches) and the acting is equally strong. Giordan Diaz as Dennis has the showier role of the leads and handles himself gracefully. His big moment is understated enough to feel real but emotionally powerful. Susan Hedges is a strong mother--great non-verbal facial expressions. And Kaitlyn Johnston as Dahlia really drives the film home. She's great at not being too flashy. Not trying to hit a home run at every moment but letting the emotion bleed out, just like the scars hidden beneath her surface, she lets everything slowly seep out and we can feel what she is feeling.
We've all been there before. Here's a short that really hits all its marks and while not "over- the-top", is a subtle, smart, sophisticated little drama about loss and how we all must move on.
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