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By Mark Bell | January 20, 2013

When young Pearl (Miana Abramson) sees a stuffed animal she wants in a magic claw booth, she utilizes her small size to climb into the booth to live amongst her new fluffy friends. Unfortunately, Pearl’s actions cause more than a little distress for her mother (Sharon Eisman), and things only go downhill as Pearl begins to fight off all attempts to remove her from the booth.

Pearl Was Here is a tonal adventure. For much of the film, Pearl’s actions and eventual plight are cute and humorous; at a certain point, however, a darker cloud starts to set in and there’s an ominous tension that develops, finally climaxing in a fashion that is as shocking to the characters in the film as it was to me watching.

And it works, sticking with you long after the film has ended. Those final moments make you re-think much of what came before, and the film becomes more layered and open to interpretation. What was Pearl’s true motivation, both for climbing into the booth, and not wanting to come out? Or is it just a case of a kid being a kid, not thinking of the consequences? The answers are debatable, and that’s what makes the short so powerful.

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