I’m just going to say it: short films are one of the most criminally underrated forms of entertainment.
I’ve seen more than a few short films in my life, but I really didn’t know what I was in for when I decided to watch “The Neighbors’ Window.” This 20-minute short, written and directed by Marshall Curry, is profoundly emotional, and I was completely caught off guard.
The plot is simple: ageing parents begin to spy on the young couple across the street through their window. Reminiscent of Hitchcock’s 1954 film “Rear Window,” my expectations were a little high going in, but I still didn’t really know what would happen.
The film takes place over an extended time period and shows both couples in different places in their lives. The older woman, played by Maria Dizzia, seems to be the central character.
A lot happens in this film, but it’s done so subtly that you don’t even notice. The locations are simple, there are only a few main actors and it’s the perfect length.
It’s beautiful and surprising, and the music choices only makes the emotional impact that much stronger. The cinematography and lighting are fluid and crisp, and they aid the story well.
In short films, it can be difficult to find the balance between a script that is too basic or too complicated. Sometimes you get bad editing, stories that are just trying to do too much or plots that have been done a thousand times. If you want to see a great example of balance, watch this film.
Even the acting aids the film. Physical movements are particularly important for this movie, and I have no complaints. Dizzia and her co-star Greg Keller convincingly replicate the lives of tired parents and even the young couple, played by Juliana Canfield and Bret Lada, are great despite having little to no lines. There’s a lot said even without dialogue.
The ending (no spoilers here) blows me away. Canfield in particular is a highlight, along with Dizzia. And the last shot… there are no words I could use to really describe how I feel. It is certainly a gut-wrenching reality check. An emotional, overwhelming reminder that while we envy others, others are envying us as well.
This is a rare gem of a movie. While I don’t want to set your expectations too high, it’s certainly one of my favorites. It’s surprising, full of empathy and packs an emotional punch.
If you want to watch the film and you certainly should, it’s available to stream for free on its website, http://www.theneighborswindow.com and on YouTube.