It’s no secret that adolescence can be a confusing time for the typical teen, and that’s undoubtedly true in Bowie Nichol’s short film Sweet Star Grief.
In high school, Nick (Mack Williams) and Jody (Ian Meadows) were the best of friends. But that friendship was tested when it became more as they explored their sexual feelings. Fifteen years later, Nick (Jax Buresh) is driving home with his daughter Natalie after the funeral of his wife/her mother. As Nick pulls into his driveway, he sees a woman with his neighbor Eleanor, who is Jody’s mother.
The woman approaches Nick, revealing herself as Jodi (Izzy Daniel) with an “I” who transitioned from Jody years ago. Jodi tells Nick that she left when her mother rejected her when she confessed to wanting to transition. Now, Jodi has returned to Eleanor, who has severe dementia and only recognizes Jody (not Jodi). This forces Nick to reconcile his rejection of Jody in high school.
“…she left when her mother rejected her when she confessed to wanting to transition.”
Sweet Star Grief tackles the complicated themes of family, identity, and love. The story is told through the eyes of Nick, who has to reconcile his youthful rejection of his feelings for Jody. In turn, Jodi must find some reconciliation with her mother, considering she is in no condition to accept not only her daughter Jodi but her blatant rejection of Jody from long ago.
My only issue is the pacing. The film is very slow, with a lot of quiet moments. Yes, this story needs a quiet moment for the audience to reflect. But I’m just saying that it could have been a bit tighter.
Bowie Nichols’ short film rests squarely on the shoulders of the wonderful performances by his lead actors, Jax Buresh and Izzy Daniel. They are a bit green as actors yet coming into their own. It is important that they fully grasp the emotional story. They beautifully capture the emotions behind that life-changing moment in their youth when Nick and Jody’s friendship dissolved instantly.
Nichols lays out a “what would you do?” proposition for audiences in hopes of finding empathy in a time where the “Trans” question is being battled over in the news and social media. I definitely have my feelings and opinions about the issue, and what Sweet Star Grief does is add much-needed nuanced arguments in support of the Trans community.
For screening information, visit the Sweet Star Grief official website.
"…lays out a 'what would you do?' proposition for audiences in hopes of finding empathy..."