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By Mark Bell | March 13, 2012

When Robert (Alexander Martschewski) refuses to pick up his sister Jo (Mia Plappert) after she misses the bus home after her after-school music class, Robert’s girlfriend Caro (Cynthia Cosima) steps in to do the job instead. Unfortunately, on the ride home, Jo and Caro get into a car accident that Caro does not survive.

Sometime later, Jo is in therapy and has swapped her music class for ice hockey, while Robert stays as combative as ever. When their parents put the onus on Robert to pick Jo up from ice hockey each day, old wounds rise to the surface the two are forced to find out where they stand with each other and their own grief and guilt.

Micah Magee’s short film Heimkommen (Coming Home) is a haunting meditation on grief, guilt and healing. Stuck in almost an omnipresent gray haze, everything feels like the aftermath of the rainstorm that was instrumental in the film’s opening tragedy. The beauty of that idea, that the storm never really moved on, plays in sync with the emotions on screen, both expressed and repressed.

I wasn’t always on board with the actions of the characters (not that I needed to be). How the parents can so gallantly throw their children into the same scenario that put them at odds with each other seems heartless at times; maybe it’s the only way Robert and Jo will ever come to terms with their shared problems, but it seems almost cruel in the off-hand way it is set up. Still, the overall film works whether you agree with the scenarios presented or not.

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