Great Light

By Tony Oswald | Drama
The matriarch of a rural Kentucky family takes issue with her daughter's boyfriend at a gathering to view the total solar eclipse.

During one family backyard gathering one summer afternoon, Southern family matriarch Kim has gathered her family to view the eclipse. Her daughter brings not only Kim’s granddaughter Katie but her new boyfriend Nathan, who is meeting them all for the first time.

Though he seems good-natured and caring, especially with Katie, she begins to suspect all is not what it seems with him. They initially skirmish over an argument over the Bible, but when Kim observes Nathan with Katie — and see signs of a darker agenda — she confronts him, unearthing the family’s own troubled history in an explosive moment.

Writer-director Tony Oswald’s powerful, short drama is a marvel of restraint, marked by an abiding air of mystery that unsettles and unnerves. The setting is quintessentially American, but in many ways the film has the feel of naturalistic European drama, with its willingness to privilege the unspoken and suppressed emotions driving behavior versus words and action. Its visuals have a striking clarity, melding subtle beautiful light with restrained camera movements that seem to edge around Kim as she stalks her home, alert to something quietly alarming in her midst.

The storytelling is willing to elongate quiet moments of doubt, fear and anxiety, letting them rise up and be buried again and again. As a result, viewers can watch with remarkable intimacy how one character’s past colors her in the film’s present — all with a gripping desire to keep it from happening again in the future.

The film is anchored by a taut and compelling performance by lead Kimberley Glass, who is also the director’s mother. She plays the family matriarch with a careworn watchfulness that becomes activated when she senses that her daughter’s boyfriend may not be the good guy he portrays himself to be.

The sensitive camerawork and emotionally attuned editing allow viewers to take in the small gestures and signals that cause Kim’s antenna to go up, as well as her own internal battles to speak up, first indirectly and then more forcefully, in a final scene remarkable for its honesty — and brutal for the possibility that trauma may be buried once again by familial silence.

“Great Light” handles a difficult subject with great care, respect and dignity, as well as with a keen eye for how trauma lives on from one generation to another, abetted by shame, denial and powerlessness. Despite the stretch of time and the efforts to rebuild a self and a life beyond it, sexual abuse shapes the way its survivors read the world and relate to others. Watching Kim reveal the difficult burden she’s carried in silence is gut-wrenching — all the more because despite its explosive power, it’s still answered by disbelief and silence.




You Might Also Like:

Lost and Found

By Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe | Animation
A clumsy crochet dinosaur must unravel itself to save the love of its life.

Edmund the Magnificent ft. Ian McKellen

By Ben Ockrent | Comedy
A once-legendary farmer takes a chance and invest his life savings in a thoroughbred piglet.

Reception

By Joe Gillette | Romance
Two strangers, trying to avoid the crowd at a wedding reception, end up making an unexpected connection.

Exit Strategy

By Travis Bible | Sci-Fi
Two brothers caught in a time loop must traverse a series of maze-like events in order to prevent a catastrophic fire from occurring.

Garfield

By Georgi Bank-Davies | Romance
A young woman wakes up in a strange place, with a strange guy. Then, she start to piece together how she got there.

Partners

By Joey Ally | Romance
A couple's love life begins to slump, forcing them to reconsider the relationship and confront how intertwined they've become.

Small Arms ft. Tyler Young

By Arman Cole | Drama
A bullied college student seeks out shooting lessons with an ex-militia member to prove his manhood.

Spoetnik

By Noel Loozen | Comedy
A young man finds himself in between a food-truck and a brothel. Then, he meets his dream girl.

Long Branch

By Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart | Romance
A heartbroken woman finds a one-night stand. But the guy lives two hours away... via public transit.

Ten Thousand Days

By Michael Duignan | Comedy
A man is convinced he'll die on his 10,000th day. But when he meets a girl at his cousin's funeral, things don't go to plan.

Pawns

By Tyrees A. Lamptey | Drama
A WW1 soldier is trapped in a trench with the enemy... and it restores their faith in humanity.

Pitter Patter Goes My Heart ft. Vicky Krieps

By Christoph Rainer | Romance
A hopeless romantic takes desperate measures to win her former lover back. But he already has a new girl at his side.

Grape Soda

By Justin Robinson | Drama
A marriage, broken by death, is kept alive by the memories held through grape soda.

Los Angeles 1991

By Zac&Mac | Drama
The streets of Los Angeles have become a hotbed of racial tension and hate about to burst.

The Disappearance of Willie Bingham

By Matt Richards | Horror
An inmate is selected to undergo a radical new justice program under the State's revised stance on capital crime.



Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening.
That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady
stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.