PALM SPRINGS SHORTFEST REVIEW! Ashley Eakin’s short dramedy Single is a compelling look at a day in the life of a person with a disability. The borderline-farcical plot may verge on being a tad inconsequential, but the filmmaker’s knack for pacing and characterization grounds the proceedings in a resonant reality. Single is buoyed by its succinctness and two leads – and it has something quite relevant to say.
Kim (Delaney Feener) was born with one arm. Every person she encounters showers her with forced compassion, which makes Kim sick. “God bless, sweetie,” a cashier at the local grocery store tells her, eyebrows furrowed sympathetically. “You are so rude,” Kim responds, before causing a small tantrum.
Things get worse when Kim is set up with a handsome guy, Jake (Jordan Wisely). When she realizes that Jake has one hand, Kim turns defensive and furious. Gradually, Jake’s natural charm wins her over. Together, they spend the night throwing eggs off a beautiful rooftop, each cracked shell representing a person who’s wronged them in some way. This leads to a final shot that’s both touching and hilariously defiant.
“When she realizes that Jake has one hand, Kim turns defensive and furious.”
Eakin elicits endearing performances from Feener and Wisely, who have undeniable chemistry, most evident in a sequence where they rapidly run down a list of primary personality “must-haves”, none of which they share. It makes one wish there were more scenes of just the two of them, waxing lyrical about life, as well as each other’s plights.
Most folks want to be treated as equal, instead of evoking constant sympathy: getting free drinks at the bar, being offered help at the grocery store, or complimented in an elevator… It’s understandable how a differently-abled person’s thick wall of cynicism may prevent them from recognizing true kindness and potential companionship. Eakin’s film examines a specific moment when a searing ray of hope penetrates that veneer.
"…examines a specific moment, when a searing ray of hope penetrates that veneer."