Created to appear like a classic silent film, Hank Isaac’s short film, The Bench, conveys all the charm of the early days of the cinematic medium with a more modern message. One day, Poor Boy (Rielly Swanson) and Rich Boy (Jonny Ozburn) find themselves fighting over The Girl (Rachelle Henry) as she sits on a park bench. Poor Boy offers her his heart, and only sandwich, while Rich Boy offers toys and entertainment. Who will the Girl choose?
And thus is the real meat of the piece, when the Girl realizes that her life has suddenly come down to which of the two suitors she’ll have to settle for. After seeing her life with both of them played out in her imagination, neither is altogether the greatest option, and in the old time days the film is trying to evoke, that would be too bad; she has to choose one of them. Here, though, the Girl confronts the options of her day and makes the most empowered decision of them all.
The Bench manages to portray an old time context and elevate it by turning the societal norms on their ear. Or maybe I’m reading too far into it. Regardless, the fact that I’m able to run with this film in such a direction is a testament to the strength of the short which, in just under seven minutes in running time, manages to transport you to another time without coming off as cheesy or gimmicky.
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