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By Mark Bell | February 26, 2013

Josh (Miles Snow) and Lacie (Lilly Nelson) are in the early stages of a courtship and they’re doing pretty “meh”; Lacie just isn’t sexually attracted to Josh, particularly his face. When the lack of sexual chemistry becomes too big a mountain to climb, Josh’s friend suggests that perhaps Josh try a custom mask that Lacie might find more appealing.

So that’s what Josh does, utilizing pics of various people that Lacie is, or has been, attracted to, such as former boyfriends, to craft a mask. Josh also tries to incorporate a small bit of himself in the visage too, in the hopes of it creating a subliminal attraction to him. Lo and behold, the mask works! Though can the relationship really survive when such actions have to be taken? Can Josh accept a life where he’s never good enough, except when he looks like someone else?

Ken Cohen’s short film, My Face, captures that sad reality when two people find they have an attraction to each other that doesn’t extend to the physical. It’s an intriguing premise, and delivered in a fashion that is at times dry and darkly comic. You mostly feel bad for Josh in the beginning, but by the end you feel bad for both of them. I mean, how do you create sexual chemistry when it just doesn’t exist?

I guess you could question why they even put up with the sexual roadblock in the first place, and don’t just move on immediately. It’s not like it’s a saccharine sweet short where the sentiment of “love” is expressed early on; instead, it’s more like Josh and Lacie feel like they don’t have many options. That said, the fact that Josh would entertain a mask made to look like Lacie’s ex-boyfriends speaks to there being something more, at least initially on his side.

Beyond maybe wondering about the motivations of the characters, I think the film is a solid showing. The word “fun” popped into my head, but I don’t know if it’s actually appropriate; perhaps, “amusing” instead? The dark tones over the entire film make it hard to describe it in the sometimes whimsical fashion that “fun” can denote, but it’s nonetheless entertaining.

Honestly, the most off-putting aspect of the short film is the mask itself, but I appreciate that discomfort because it adds some flavor to the film-audience dynamic. The one thing necessary to get Lacie sexually attracted in Josh is the one thing to make me want to turn away. It’s probably better that way.

In the end, My Face is a movie to which I hope you don’t personally relate too much, but I do think the sentiments and undercurrents are universal. Relationships can have any number of problems, and while the problem in this one isn’t all that unique, the solution is. The result is a better understanding of the dynamics of attraction, and a more nuanced exploration of relationships than the false-feeling, cinematic mainstay “everlasting love at first sight” variety that we normally get.

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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  1. Ken says:

    Thanks for the good review Mark, really means a lot. I’ve been very glad how the film has been getting people to think of the universal themes and elaborate on them deeply. And Lilly’s not kidding! Ha!

    Amy, thanks for the comment. If you are interested in checking out the film, please “like” the facebook page and I’ll shoot you a message.

    Thanks everyone!

    – Ken

  2. Amy R Handler says:

    Hmmm…This sounds interesting. You should check out Hideo Nakata’s “Chaos,” to see what happens when the mask is taken to another disturbing level.

  3. Lilly Nelson says:

    You think the mask is off putting on screen. Imagine it in front of you. Yeesh!

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