Painless Movie Review
Written by Karin Crighton
Directed by Dylan Stern
Written by Ketryn Porter
2015, 12 minutes, Not Rated
Ketryn Porter as Bets
Kim Burns as Alex
Jessica Porter as Mom
DISCLOSURE: REVIEWER PERSONALLY KNOWS MS PORTER AND MS BURNS.
Alex and Bets have a problem: Mom needs to die, but how to do it? It’s got to be reflective of the dignity she deserves, the formidable woman she is, but it must, MUST, be painless. So how do two ordinary millennials determine the best way to kill their mother?
I was reticent to use the word millennial in my tagline since the media has imbued it with such a negative connotation, but there’s no other way to really describe the nature of the heroines. But that word immediately popping into my head at the title screen only spoke to my own prejudice as I began to watch Painless, assuming I’d be watching a shallow new take on Throw Momma from the Train.
I was wrong and should be ashamed of how wrong I was.
For a 12-minute script, writer Ketryn Porter manages to keep the twists well hidden, and director Dylan Stern reveals them with a delicate hand. He relies on some familiar young-person-in-crisis imagery, which comes off clunky since the emotion he elicits from Burns and Porter is real and accessible. The script is strong enough to stand without gimmicks, so where they are employed, the result is frustratingly uninspired.
The most excruciating part of this quietly beautiful little film is the all-too-contemporary issue the sisters are facing. I may be the very first year of millennials and identify more closely with Gen X-ers, but Painless reminds us that despite our gadgets and advances, none of us are immune to the future.
Growing up means letting go of having Mom there to tell us what to do. And we all have to grow up sometime.
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