Two Piece

By Greta Nash | Drama
A young girl goes on a nightmarish bikini-shopping trip with her mother.

Ava, a young 13-year-old girl, needs to buy a new swimsuit before a family excursion. Finding just the right thing, though, proves more difficult than she anticipates, especially in the company of her mother Kelly and little brother Wally.

Writer-director Greta Nash’s short drama focuses its narrative lens on a fraught moment in most girls’ lives: buying a swimming suit for a body that is changing quickly. It’s a slender story, but with its attention to emotional nuance and its emphasis on specific yet naturalistic performance, it’s able to take a moment in one girl’s life and turn it into a meditation of body image, coming-of-age, self-love and what it means to become a woman.

With its focus on Ava’s interiority, performance is a key element of the film, with the main burden falling upon young performer Freya Van Dyke-Goodman to carry the subtle arc of Ava. Delivered with ease and naturalness, she captures both the spiky sense of defensiveness and self-protection — any mother and daughter will be deeply familiar with Ava’s fraught yet vulnerable interaction with her mother.

In the dressing room, Ava is confronted with her insecurities, vulnerability and complexity of her changing role in life, as well as her conflicting inner needs for both comfort and independence. It’s a tricky balancing act for both character and filmmaker, but the short manages to grace this rite of passage with just the right weight.

The small family is captured with naturalistic camerawork and lighting, capturing the sense of a film being almost a postcard of a small but pivotal moment in a young girl’s life. And its denouement is equally as quiet and even gently lovely, as Ava slowly lets go of her self-consciousness for the moment and enjoys the beach.

“Two Piece” is a small, even delicate short about a moment that feels outsized for its main character as she stands between childhood and adulthood and all its burdens. By capturing Ava at her most difficult — and also at her most innocent and joyful — the film seems to suggest that we never quite leave our young selves behind, but instead layer new experiences and knowledge over them, like a transparency. If we’re lucky — and we have the right support and foundation — we never lose sight of the comforts of our past, even as we move forward into the future.

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