Recently widowed, George (Stephen Brown) checks into a hotel shortly after his wife’s funeral to commit suicide. With gun in mouth and ready to pull the trigger, he is interrupted by a frantic knocking at the door. Delaying his plan, George opens the door to find an extremely drunk young woman (Katarina Hughes), wandering lost from her wedding party, who is completely unaware of what she has interrupted.
Smartly, Matthew Szewczyk’s short film, Earth Angel, knows what it has and doesn’t overstay its welcome. There are a few ways one can interpret the timing of the encounter between George and wayward wedding refugee, and the title is one option, but the film also doesn’t last long enough to risk falling too far into sappy melodrama. It establishes its scenario, lets it run its course, and is over.
Along the way are moments of sentiment, punctuated with humor. Drunken reveler has her eventual words of advice, but they don’t come across as cheesy or forced so much as something a drunk person would say when they think they’re being poignant. The fact that her words actually do have a profound effect is incidental.
This film could’ve become really sentimental and cheesy, and it’s possible that some will still think it goes too far, but I think it found the right balance between sentiment, drama and comedy (which is no easy feat). The running time has something to do with that because it doesn’t push its luck, but again I think it’s an awareness of the filmmaker to know what they have and to not unnecessarily prolong an experience for the audience.
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