The Hamster

By Ryan Barger | Drama
A father and daughter talk about humanity's futile search for meaning in the universe.

A father buys his young daughter a pet hamster, although dad is a little ambivalent about the whole project. Then the hamster dies, and the father must try to help his daughter make sense of her pet’s death.

But when his little girl isn’t satisfied with the typical platitudes, it opens up a frank, no-holds-barred discussion about life, death and the futility of meaning in the universe.

Writer-director Ryan Barger is a self-contained comedy, and the narrative scale is basically an extended conversation between a father and daughter as they negotiate a common but tricky moment.

Confronting a first encounter with death is never easy, but there’s no way to avoid it on the human journey. But through sharp, witty writing and dialogue and deftly calibrated comic pacing — as well as some hilariously heightened “hamster cinematography” — this short takes this conversation to a whole new dimension.

It’s made even more funny with terrific performances, especially from Aaralyn Anderson, who plays the daughter whose priceless reactions to her beleaguered dad’s particular brand of existentialism prove hilarious.

“The Hamster” is a comic take on how we confront mortality, offering a funny spin on grappling with the abyss lurking behind human existence. It’s also about a “teachable moment” taken to the next level, and how parents often have to negotiate the divide between what they want to tell their kids versus what they really truly feel.




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