Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

Freckles (Short)

Grade : A Year : 2016 Director : Denise Papas Meechan Running Time : 15min Genre : ,
Movie review score

“Freckles” begins with Lizzie (Jenn Halweil) getting out of bed and getting a shower. We hear her voice on the soundtrack, as she refutes her mother’s saying that her freckles were “kisses from God.” She is now 30, and with each passing year, she has a harder and harder time believing that. She’s never been in a relationship, was always bullied at school, and feels like a freak because of all her freckles; she even tried to scrub them off with an SOS pad, with painful results. She is alone, with Margo (Jane Dashow), her office mate, the only real communication she has, although even Margo has only a passing interest in Lizzie as a person. When she leaves work, a guy on her way home (Brody, played by Antonio E. Silva) strikes up a conversation with her, seeming like the first time someone has ever shown an interest in spending time with her. That night, Lizzie cries herself to sleep; she feels so alone.

Denise Papas Meechan’s short film is filled with pain and anxiety and passions untapped as Lizzie’s story feels destined to conclude in a brutal way. She doesn’t see any way out of this life for herself. She doesn’t see that anyone could possibly love her for her, because she’s been given every reason to feel otherwise. Her freckles are what hold her back. She has no sense of worth because of them, and what they represent. Even when she tries to pleasure herself at night, she just can’t- what reason does she need to? This film is rooted entirely in Lizzie’s psyche; even when she isn’t speaking, we understand what she is thinking, and it’s a difficult minefield of confusion and loneliness. Halweil does a terrific job showing this in a powerfully insular performance. We sympathize with Lizzie, and wish she could feel our sympathy. She cannot, though, and her demons come out in an ending that feels entirely logical, as well as an embodiment of the rage she’s felt for years. She just can’t shake that feeling, and we will have a hard time shaking where it takes her.

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