Sorry for the Inconvenience

By Jane Chow | Drama
A lonely girl helps her parents keep the restaurant afloat amid Covid.

Sammi is a lonely teenager. And in the middle of the pandemic, she's even more isolated than ever, even as she tries to help her parents keep their seafood restaurant in Los Angeles's Chinatown afloat by chopping veggies to packing up takeout orders.

But even in the middle of a difficult world event, Sammi is still a typical teenager, studying for her driver's permit and prepping for her high school theater production of "The Tempest," now on Zoom. But just as she's set for adulthood, she finds herself pulled even tighter into the family fold as the restaurant continues to struggle.

Written and directed by Jane Chow, this gentle, warmhearted short drama has its wryly ironic moments, drawn from its keen observations of life during the pandemic. But its great charm comes from its knowledge that, even during a difficult pandemic, teenagers still grapple with their identities, navigating the push-pull between the excitement of adulthood with the comfort and safety of home.

The tenor of the film is on the quieter side, echoed in the interplay of soft, hazy lighting with softly muted yet vivid colors. Fans of Sofia Coppola will find much to like here, especially in the film's dreamy, observational quality, which luxuriates in small, seemingly off-hand moments that reveal a subtle charm and poeticism with careful attention.

But above all, the storytelling is anchored in the experience of its main character. As Sammi, actor Caitlin Cheung is charmingly natural and understated as a thoughtful, smart young woman balancing her commitment to family with her burgeoning interests and independent concerns. The writing slowly and almost unobtrusively builds up a crisis point for the family, and Sammi -- like so many others during the pandemic -- must make certain sacrifices to keep things afloat. These sacrifices are chronicled matter-of-factly, but they are no less sad or wistful.

Graceful, humble and luminous in its voice and craft, "Sorry for the Inconvenience" succeeds both as a snapshot of the contemporary moment -- Zoom theater productions, masks and contactless food delivery all feature in the film -- and as a timeless portrait of a young teen yearning for a bigger, wider horizon, just as those horizons narrow in an unprecedented way. But like many others during the Covid-19 pandemic, Sammi finds comfort in the warmth and sturdiness of familial bonds, leading the film into its affecting, sweet ending. Even when nothing is quite going right -- in her life, and the world -- there is still beauty to behold, adventures to embark upon and the promise of fairer seas ahead, hopefully soon.

You Might Also Like:


By Oliver Goodrum | Drama
A man who bullied a disabled girl tries to escape his past. Then an angry mob finds him.


By Candice Carella | Drama
A single mother leaves her young daughter with a rock musician uncle.


By Richard Prendergast | Drama
A single mother takes her family on a road trip. But it's to an unwanted destination.

Second Best

By Alyssa McClelland | Comedy
Twin sisters turn into rivals when one's gymnastics career steals the spotlight.

No More Wings

By Abraham Adeyemi | Drama
2 friends meet at their favorite fried chicken shop. But their lives have diverged.


By Gokalp Gonen | Animation
A man is trapped on a spaceship after his robot overseer finds every planet uninhabitable.

Feeling Through (Oscars)

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man who changes his life forever...


By Hadley Hillel | Drama
A man's suicide attempt rips a hole in the ceiling. Then he befriends the boy upstairs.

Dig Your Own Grave

By Kirk Larsen | Comedy
A man is forced to dig his own grave in the desert. But the ground is hard.

Call Connect

By Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell | Drama
A young helpline operator takes her first call and gets more than she expected.

More Than God

By Kev Cahill | Comedy
A devoted husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then he hides under the bed.

Welcome to Iron Knob

By Dave Wade | Comedy
A young boy accidentally shoots a stranger and the town tries to cover it up.


By Erika Davis-Marsh | Romance
A young dancer falls for a deaf guy, then tries to find her place in the world.

Toni With an I

By Marco Alessi | Drama
An awkward girl doesn't fit in at school. Then the Internet comes to save her.

The Things You Think I'm Thinking

By Sherren Lee | Drama
A burn-survivor goes on his first date after his accident.

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.