Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

The Waiting Room (Short)

Grade : A+ Year : 2017 Director : Debra Markowitz Running Time : 12min Genre : , ,
Movie review score

Debra Markowitz has a knack for exploring spiritual and emotional matters in interesting ways- that much is quite clear after having seen my fifth short film of hers. No film is the same, but all touch on themes of loneliness and figuring out how to navigate through a new phase of life when something dramatic happens. Such is now the case for Janet (Jennifer Jiles), who has waited a long time to be reconnected with her husband, Tim (Ciarán Sheehan). She is brought into a waiting room for him, but gets quite a surprise when she finds he is not alone. In case you haven’t quite figured it out, Janet died several years ago. Now, Tim has passed on, as well, although Janet gets a shock when she learns that Tim had a wife, Ann (Heather Brittain O’Scanlon), and family after she died. Kieran (Justin L. Wilson), who is sort of like Janet’s afterlife assistant, helping guide her through the difficult emotional journey ahead, has a tough road in front of him when Tim isn’t quite alone for this reunion.

It says quite a bit about what Markowitz has going on in this story, and how she goes about it, that she has made what is, pretty obviously (to me, at least), her best film to date that I’ve seen, considering that I’ve been high on each of her films up until this point. This one just takes her storytelling abilities to the next level, however (not that she had far to go, though), as we see Janet go through a whole range of emotions as she finds herself making peace with Tim, and the life they had together (and the life he put together after she died), in a way that is both entertaining to watch, and deeply affecting. Similarly, Tim has a story to tell, also, and his story is all the more tragic due to what has been left behind, and we feel for both of them as they have some things they have to accept. This isn’t simply a sad, emotional story, however, but also quite a funny and lovely one, with moments of grace when Janet is dancing, and humor (both verbal and visual, as is the case with Angelique (Noelle Yatauro), who is a secretary in the titular “waiting room”) that gets right to the heart of the matter, and makes the film just feel more down-to-Earth and palpable. We’ve seen quite a few films dealing with the afterlife over the years, but I’m hard pressed to think of one I’ve enjoyed more.

The Waiting Room (2017) Official Trailer from Debra Markowitz on Vimeo.

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