Being Here Image

Being Here

By Brian Shaer | August 2, 2020

Sometimes all we need to restore our faith in humanity is a good movie, a well-made and life-affirming film with a strong message that provokes the viewer to reflect inward. The short film Being Here is such a movie and reminds us that while our time on this planet can be unforgiving, every once in awhile, we need to pay gratitude to those who have helped us through the dark times.

Interestingly, the dark times for Charlie (Mélisa Breiner-Sanders) began to brighten up once she entered a live-in treatment facility. At the Midwest Recovery Center, Charlie has prospered. Along with group therapy, she’s going to the gym and consciously looking after her health and well-being. Charlie even made a best friend in Joy (Carin Silkaitis), a middle-aged mom who, in addition to being in recovery, is battling cancer.

The two have formed quite the bond, the kind that cannot be severed. Even though Charlie and Joy are not related, their blood definitely runs thicker than water. But like any relationship, there are cracks. Charlie isn’t the A-plus recovery pupil after all; she occasionally sneaks peeks at her cell phone (a no-no in this recovery center) that she keeps hidden underneath a campus building and refuses to call her father despite aggressive encouragement from her recovery counselor. Charlie is stunned to learn that despite this, she has been granted release from the facility, which she finds horrifying. She’d much prefer to stay with Joy in the safety of the recovery center.

For her part, Joy is reluctant to tell her son, Tony, about her cancer diagnosis, never mind the prodding from Charlie, who insists it’s the right thing to do. Joy finds Charlie’s moralizing somewhat ironic, coming from a woman too cowardly to leave a recovery center and face the world.

“Charlie is stunned to learn that despite this, she has been granted release from the facility…”

But ultimately, Charlie and Joy need each other. These women are one another’s lifelines, and their care and respect for each other transcend simple camaraderie into deep and intrinsic affection.

Being Here is beautiful in this regard. There is one scene late in the film when Charlie and Joy have a heated confrontation that is one of those goosebump-inducing moments that comes along once in a while. The kind of intense moment where you can physically experience the emotions emanating from an actress onscreen. For a second, I had to remind myself that these people were actresses, so primal and perfectly realized was this scene.

Breiner-Sanders and Silkaitis are phenomenal talents and deliver extraordinary performances. In less capable hands, Charlie’s role might have come across as whiny, and Joy’s as potentially hammy. Kudos must be given to writer-director Sydney O’Haire for conducting the performances to a perfect pitch and knowing when to require quietude and warmth and when to require raw anger and vitriol.

The story told in Being Here is so simple and elemental, that it almost seems as though the film doesn’t have much to say. But it is saying quite a lot, as it forces the viewer to peel back the layers of his or her life and recognize what is truly important. It is telling us not to be afraid to confront the dark times with strength and that the people who legitimately matter will weather the storm with us. And that is a message worth hearing again and again.

Being Here (2020)

Directed and Written: Sydney O’Haire

Starring: Mélisa Breiner-Sanders, Carin Silkaitis, Shariba Rivers, Shadana Patterson, Liz Chidester, Claron Sharrieff, Ronnie Lyall, Laura Harmon, etc.

Movie score: 9.5/10

Being Here Image

"…sometimes all we need to restore our faith in humanity is a good movie."

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