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HollyShorts 2017: Drama Block – Film Reviews

This year’s drama entries were nothing short of beautiful and well worth their name. Featuring some well-known names and some surprising newcomers, this was a mix of the darkly funny, the wonderfully aching, and the occasionally uncomfortable. It was nothing short of a beautiful mix of emotions and premises that really spoke to the heart.

A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud

The directorial debut of legendary actress Karen Allen is a successful one, as she adapts the story by Carson McCullers into a surprisingly heartfelt piece about love and learning to live with it in your life and with all. A young boy is told this story as he sits with an older gentleman who explains to him about how loving a person is the toughest form of love, and how to truly love, and be prepared, he must learn to love other things, and build up to the toughest one of all. It has a strong message and was gorgeous to look at in all its black-and-white beauty.

No One Ever Said

The life of someone recovering from substance abuse is something they must live with their whole lives, even if they’ve grown up from their dependence on it. With that in mind, this film focuses on the live of one such addict, living every day as well as she can while still living with the weight of addiction on her shoulders. It’s a beautiful film that really shows the heart of anyone trying to improve their lives after getting clean.


Emergency feels more like a dark comedy than a drama, as two friends deal with the social stigmas of race and the way they’re treated by the world. After coming home and seeing a woman passed out in their living room, the two boys and their Latino friend are forced to debate the obvious decision to call 911, because of their fears of being judged, despite their innocence and the occasional instances of this happening on college campuses. It had a lot of great laughs, but the subject matter is really important and that should be discussed.

Benny Got Shot

Another look into the horrors of the developed world and the difficulties of living as a person of color, this film focuses on the tragic shootings in recent years that have been motivated by race and racial tensions. Young black men and women have been killed many times in recent years, and this film focuses on the trials of those who are affected by it, and how they struggle with dealing with what could happen to those they love. It was a powerful film that really took to task this awful development and how, hopefully, the times will soon be changing on this subject.

White Face

A story that was a complex one to watch because of its content, this film shows how people of color are forced to live in the world like their white counterparts. Told through the eyes of an African-American actor who is attempting to use literal and metaphorical white face to blend himself in and get his shot as an actor that isn’t stereotyped playing bad tropes of African-Americans, his story is very difficult, but very necessary to see. Director and lead Mtume Gant was sensational, really bringing heart to this story and how tough it can be for others to break through the culture barriers.


Everything in life is connected, and this film does everything it can to explore that. From chemicals used in plants to the death of a young woman, everything we do and all that happens can be traced back to connections with other events and other people. A stark look at how the world brings threads together, this film beautifully brings things together, no matter how good or bad, how happy or tragic, and shows it in an honesty that should really be commended.

Penny Sucker

The final film of the block tells the story of a young man who has major quirks, some of which seem to be tied to the trauma of losing a loved one, as well as some social stigmas. In the film, a young man sucks on pennies to calm him down in times of stress and does all he can to get through his life after losing his mother and attempting to recover from that. It was a heartbreaking, but very well done, film that was captured very well by director Erin Elders.


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