Editors Note: “Price is Right” is a running column from local film enthusiast Mr. Price. He reviews selected Strasburg Film Festival films. If he posts a negative review, then the Shenandoah Film Collaborative will respond within his reviews as to why we selected the certain film. By going about it this way, we can help ensure the reader that these are honest film reviews.
One of the most prominent problems facing short films is that of pacing. “Like Her” does not completely avoid this challenge, but manages to deliver a compelling piece of art in spite of its pacing issues.
Focusing on the story of Charlotte Hayes, a 19-year-old just out of the foster system, “Like Her” explores the struggle to make one’s way in the world after dealing with seemingly-insurmountable struggles. Charlotte is a relatable and sympathetic focal point for our viewing, her character supported by a very authentic-feeling performance by Meghan Andrew. As Charlotte’s struggle to find her place in the world is the focal point of the film, the burden of connection with the audience rests largely on Andrews’ shoulders, and she carries the story with aplomb. The only major issue “Like Her” faces is the challenge of delivering a compelling story in the short time it has to unfold. This is a challenge common to most short films, and one “Like Her” deserves credit for accepting and facing. A short film which focuses on a story idea or hook may have more consistent success, but a film in the vein of “Like Her” which takes on the monumental challenge of delivering a character and story-driven piece in an equally restricted amount of time is an accomplishment worth celebration.
Taken as a whole, “Like Her: is a truly unique cinematic experience. Its story and performances are given room to work, a choice befitting a much larger-scale operation. Meanwhile, the production of the film speaks to an indie spirit which pervades the production, granting an amount of authenticity which can only be genuine within such a small operation. The tension between these two extremes is an underlying current beneath the struggle of Charlotte’s to understand who she is and what she wants, and this dual tension serves to create a truly authentic viewing experience grounded in the painfully human reality of the characters put to screen.