A married couple struggles to realize their marriage is dead…or at least one of them does…in Chris Wood’s The Stew. Set in the stylized world of the 1970s a husband (Carlos Valdes) returns home after a long day of work. The wife (Melissa Benoist) has been stewing all day over a pot of stew, thinking about her loser husband. Things come to a head at the dinner table.
“A married couple struggles to realize their marriage is dead…or at least one of them does…”
The Stew is a straightforward story and idea about the worst thing you can do to your partner when divorce is too messy an option. Writer/director Wood has created a hilarious short that is engaging from the start to the final punch line at the end. He creates a beautiful world within a small urban apartment in the 70s. He builds the proper tension from start to finish with a surprise ending that should surprise no one, but works for the laugh.
This short doesn’t work without the spot-on performances of Carlos Valdes and Melissa Benoist. Contrast is an effective device in comedy. Valdes and Benoist are contrasts personified. Valdes plays the husband as loving, simple, and generally oblivious to his wife’s demeanor and body language. Benoist (looking a lot like Taylor Swift) nails it as the passive-aggressive wife, who can kill you with the daggers fired straight from her eyes. Tight, lean, and funny, The Stew is a sheer joy to watch.
The Stew screened at the 2019 HollyShorts Film Festival.