What Matters Image

What Matters

By Benjamin Franz | April 11, 2024

A meditation on what it means to be the family provider, What Matters focuses on two men. Malcolm (Malcolm David Kelley) is an overworked man who likely won’t make his own son’s birthday party. Whereas Mark (Rick Gifford) is attempting to keep the money coming into the family while his wife is stuck in the hospital being poked and prodded with an issue the doctors have yet to diagnose.

Focusing on the problems these two men face, What Matters becomes a parallel action film. When these two men come into contact at a bank, you can feel the tension go through the roof. Between Malcolm’s strained interactions with his family while commuting on a city bus and Mark trying every which way to reacquire the dead-end job that was paying for all his family’s needs, there’s a dramatic verisimilitude that develops between these two men. It seems they both possess an inextricable sense of doom hanging above their heads.

“…they both possess an inextricable sense of doom hanging above their heads.”

An actor is only as good as the material and support they receive. To that end, I must commend Ian Harris for working with great collaborators in Ty Barnett and Lauren Robbins. Barnett has written some episodes of television, and the strength of the script is possessed by the realism infused into both Malcolm and Mark’s experiences. Conversations over a cell phone on a bus are subject to everyone else who’s riding the bus. Witnessing Malcolm try to blow off some of his pent up frustration on a fellow bus rider (Claude Stuart) who’s trying to avoid his loud conversation is definitely an action I have observed on many a city bus.

What Matters is a nail-biting exercise in suspense. It’s no wonder it was long-listed for an Academy Award. What Matters blew my mind. It’s really quite great.

What Matters ()

Directed: Ian Harris, Lauren Robbins

Written: Ty Barnett, Ian Harris

Starring: Malcolm David Kelley, Rick Gifford, Claude Stuart, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

What Matters Image

"…a nail-biting exercise in suspense..."

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  1. Julie Campbell says:

    This film was incredible, you could feel the tension throughout the well written story. The actors were amazing, the direction was superior. I watched more than once, and highly recommend seeing What Matters!

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