Stay to the end. It comes out of nowhere, and it’s so worth it. That’s all I’ll say when it comes to Master Maggie. Lorraine Bracco plays the titular character as a highly sought-after acting coach. The story opens with a prospective student, Graham (Neil Jain) walking in during one of Maggie’s coaching sessions with Brian Dennehy as he goes over the infamous Connery speech from The Untouchables and solidifies Maggie as the best coach in New York.
When the session is over, Graham pleads with Maggie to help him with an important audition for a role on Law & Order. Maggie’s reluctance soon succumbs to Graham’s persistence, and the lesson begins. With only the first three words of the script, Maggie knows precisely Graham’s problem. The rest of the short has Maggie dispensing hifalutin actory advice, that soars will over the head of this lowly critic. Can she turn this amateur actor into a seasoned thespian in one lesson?
“…Graham pleads with Maggie to help him with an important audition for a role on Law & Order.”
Aside from the ending, filmmakers Julianna Gelinas Bonifacio and Matthew Bonifacio tell an incredible story about the art of acting and the business of coaching with a pointed punchline of an ending. I especially loved seeing the regular-guy actor Neil Jain thrust up against the veteran talents of Chris Henry Coffey, Brian Dennehy, and Lorraine Bracco. The final act is especially hilarious featuring Kenan Thompson’s coaching session for Rain Man. No, this isn’t the ending either.
Master Maggie is simply an excellent, strong, and flawless short film, and you’ll want to watch it a few times over when it’s done.
Master Maggie screened at the 2019 HollyShorts Film Festival.