We all have that family member that, when they call, expects you to drop everything and tend to their needs; Joe McGuiness (Danny Aiello) is that to his children, Caroline (Adria Tennor), Fran (Frankie Ingrassia), and Rick (Sal Rendino). After the passing of his wife/their mother, Joe’s reality has spiraled out of control as he struggles to make sense of his situation fully. One Moment, written and directed by Deirdre O’Connor, is the story of Joe and his family’s struggles and how their love for one another wins out.
In Joe, I saw my grandfather, who’s still alive and kicking and stuck in his ways. Joe is incredibly conservative, unwilling to change, and fully aware of the fact that whatever he thinks is the truth (at least that’s what he believes). This alone is enough to entice viewers as there is a level of hilarity that floats just inches from his being and allows those watching to laugh, even if subtly, without fail from beginning to end.
“After the passing of his wife…Joe’s reality has spiraled out of control….”
The comedy of One Moment, however, isn’t left to operate alone, as O’Connor creates a wonderful juxtaposition of the humor and emotional grit that mirrors the real world, threatening to burst through the flood gates at any moment. Joe’s struggles, and, in turn, that of his family, are so vivid and real that it’s genuinely impossible for them not to resonate. These feelings, however, would have dissipated if not for the beautiful performance by Aiello. The control he has of his facial expressions, mannerisms, and tone of voice help to create a real character that everyone can relate to in one way or another.
The cinematography is nothing short of perfect. Every single moment is captured with such precision and brought to life with a wide array of camera shots and angles. The subtle mastery of visual language the filmmaker has might be lost on inattentive viewers. It’s outstanding in just about every respect, and director of photography Shawn Schaffer should receive praise for pulling this off with such ease.
One Moment won’t provide you with any insane shocks or massive plot twists, but what it gives you is the understanding that you must appreciate every moment, good or bad, throughout your life. This message will resonate with literally everyone. O’Connor harnesses both drama and comedy to create an emotionally honest and amusing production. The impressive cast brings to life the rich, realistic characters with great aplomb. The film is beautiful from beginning to end, and I’m truly grateful for the message O’Connor offers the world.
One Moment screened at the 2021 Lighthouse International Film Festival.
"…harnesses both drama and comedy to create an emotionally honest and amusing production."