Withdrawals is the story of Rosa (Charlotte Gilbert), Bianca (Jenny Gorelick), Peggy (Fareeha Khan), and Quinn (Andrea Simons) as they struggle to face themselves and the world. After an idol of theirs overdoses and passes away, the four friends decide to stop taking their antidepressants cold turkey. Now, they must learn how to face themselves and the world.
Writer-director Jorja Hudson’s short film is sweet and to the point. There’s no beating around the bush, as the filmmaker throws her viewers directly into the veritable fire with the four protagonists. There’s very little build-up to the climax, and this lack of development could potentially hurt the film, making it difficult for viewers to relate to the characters. But this issue is avoided, as the four leads are fun, energetic, and raunchy in the best way possible.
“…four friends decide to stop taking their antidepressants cold turkey.”
The comedy feels, from time to time, almost unscripted. I mean this in the best way possible. The cast presents their lines with such passion and originality that the words feel like their own rather than something handed to them. Everything flows organically throughout Withdrawals as a result of the actors’ abilities to convey emotion and humor so effortlessly.
The short relies heavily on comedy to express the trials and tribulations of the four women but still has a serious message at its core. The friends have presumably heavily used their antidepressants to survive both physically and emotionally, which we see worldwide. People are medicating themselves in order to feel normal or to deal with the onslaught of issues that we face each and every day. This subject matter could have certainly left viewers feeling anxious. Still, the juxtaposition of humor and drama allows those viewers to both appreciate the sentiment being expressed as well as the comedy that Gilbert, Simons, Khan, and Gorelick present with great aplomb.
The acting and the comedy allow audiences to appreciate the story, characters, and message. The actors are incredibly talented, young unknowns. These attributes lend themselves nicely to the audience connecting with the characters on screen and enjoying each passing second. Hudson has been a part of several low-budget films and television shows that have given her some, but not much, opportunity to make her way into the big leagues. Withdrawals is another stepping stone for the talented filmmaker towards much-deserved recognition. Based on this production alone, Hudson deserves a chance to make something major at a big studio. The young talents who lead the film brilliantly deserve an opportunity to shine in the mainstream as well.
"…incredibly talented, young unknowns."