The Quiet Shore Image

The Quiet Shore

By Andrew Stover | August 8, 2020

Knowingly dramatizing a medical condition is not an inherently deplorable action, but it still takes restraint and purpose. For The Quiet Shore, it does not draw any ill attention to its handling of ALS, primarily because it focuses on how a relationship is affected by the disease, which is a genuine concern. Boasting a veristic script, two expressional performers, and a palpable sense of intimacy, The Quiet Shore treads ALS territory with caution and introspection.

The high emotional stakes are made all the more revealing by Mason O’Neill Hunsicker’s splendid cinematography. For the most part, Hunsicker deploys deliberately intrusive close-ups to capture the couple’s facial expressions as they interact back-and-forth.

“…a gorgeous, neat, and delicately-crafted drama that is empathetic and heartbreaking.”

The stiff blue color palette that saturates the film helps illustrate the growing distance of Elena and Adrian’s relationship. A few fleeting shots of waves crashing in the sea is a metaphor of how a wave’s trajectory emulates the trajectory of any relationship. A wave reaches land, and it recedes into the sea. Similar to a wave, misfortunes and inhibitions come and go in a relationship, but it only takes one imposing mishap to carry us with the tide. Coupled with Stephen Flores’ piano-infused score and Marbel Uvalle’s uncluttered production design, The Quiet Shore is a gorgeous, neat, and delicately-crafted drama that is empathetic and heartbreaking.

The Quiet Shore is a dialogue-driven drama that favors muted expressions, and Bartley and Rene, with their natural chemistry, perfectly embody the roles. Each of them perfectly conveys the nuance required to understand their nascent rancor and frustration and express it beautifully in nonverbal ways. Bartley’s performance is the clear standout, as her telling eyes echo Elena’s fluctuating feelings of vexation, despair, and hesitation. Rene is more purposefully subdued, as he must allow Adrian’s doubt to boil beneath the surface, at least until it overflows, and he has no choice but to face it directly.

The Quiet Shore is a mournful 28-minute drama that tinkers with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in an impressively honest, understated, and compassionate manner. While a feature-length film would suit Elena and Adrian’s relationship better, Alex Ramirez’s The Quiet Shore will not retreat silently, at least for me.

The Quiet Shore (2020)

Directed and Written: Alex Ramirez

Starring: Jeaux Bartley, Joseph Rene, Alyssia Rivera, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

The Quiet Shore Image

"…The Quiet Shore will not retreat silently..."

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