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By Scott Knopf | June 21, 2011

Noah Ruderman’s haunting short film frames Alaina in a difficult situation. She’s married to a good man and has a beautiful child but she’s unhappy. Before meeting her husband, she fell in love with someone she knew was wrong for her and now spends her days wishing she had made the “wrong” decision. Ruderman’s beautiful protagonist, played by Australian-born actress Faye Kingslee, remains sympathetic thanks to a nuanced performance that steps right up to the line of melodrama but never crosses over. Alaina is a flawed character, both frustrating and sympathetic, whose transformation in the film strikes closer to real life than fairy tale. In addition, Ruderman’s writing is solid and explores familiar themes in a sophisticated fashion. Overall, Companion is a success.

However, the film’s not perfect. Sound mixing issues and odd lighting choices prevent Companion from succeeding as much as it could have. Alania’s therapist is cast under a film-noir shadow which actually compliments his terrifying demeanor. His raspy voice and growly delivery set up the character to be someone there to hurt, not help. And while the casting and lighting were deliberate choices, the director’s intentions with this character are unclear. This is especially true once he’s paralleled with the character we meet in the preceding scene—a corny, overacted sleazeball whose bedroom performance is played for comic relief. These characters negatively affect the tone of the film but not enough to take away from Kingslee’s performance and the performance of her co-star, Ben Hanfling, who quietly and sufficiently plays her husband David. Their relationship with one another is enough to make up for the film’s underwhelming aspects.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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