Review: S.A.M. (Short)

Title: S.A.M.
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Neil Ely and Lloyd Eyre-Morgan
Starring: David Tag, Sam Retford, Sarah Byrne
Runtime: 16 mins

What It Is: Two boys named Sam (George Webster and Retford), who come from very different backgrounds, meet at the swings of a children’s playground. Despite, and often times because of, their differences, they grow close and it doesn’t take long for their friendship to become the most important thing to each of them. The question is, could their relationship be something more than just a friendship?

What We Think: This short film is definitely endearing. Throughout the entire thing, it just felt like I was watching two friends hang out and make stupid jokes. If the acting performances weren’t as solid as they were, I probably would’ve been rather bored. Both Webster and Retford excelled in their roles as two very different Sams and I never felt as though I was watching anything but the documentation of two very close friends. I didn’t expect to appreciate the camera work of this short as much an I did. It seemed to be shot mostly hand-held which helped match the tone of almost all the scenes. That said, the story wasn’t anything special—but are any love stories nowadays? At times the dialogue was sappy which was surprising considering the overall story actually wasn’t as sappy as one might expect it to be. The climax of the story did feel a bit forced as if the writers/directors knew that the audience would know where the story was going to the climax was just kind of thrown into the film towards the 3/4ths mark without much care. The resolution was subtle and realistic however which helped ease me back into the story after the climax had made me step back a bit. And I can’t continue this review any longer without mentioning how good the two songs by Ali Ingle were in this film. I hadn’t heard his stuff before but I will certainly keep a lookout for his music now.

Our Grade: B-, This film wasn’t outstanding but it was definitely enjoyable. Again, the acting of the two leads was really good and it needed to be in order to help the predictable story. And yes, the representation of someone with Downs Syndrome was not only extremely well-done and refreshing but it was an important element to the story being told, which was one of love and acceptance (of oneself and of others). It’s an important love story for today’s world even if it isn’t the best one ever told. By all means, go and watch this film and appreciate the warm and fuzzy feeling you will probably be experiencing by the end of it.

Author: Cal Gessner