Little Grey Bubbles

By Charles Wahl | Drama
A woman attends the funeral of a best friend, who she's only spoken to online.

Kim and Marlon never met in real life, but they considered one another best friends, bonding initially over a shared love of photography and cameras and texting one another every day.

But Marlon dies, sending one last message to Kim saying he had something important to tell her, but not able to send his message before suddenly passing away.

With that eternal “dot dot dot” lingering between them — and wanting to see if she can recover his final message — Kim decides to attend his funeral to gain a better sense of the friend she never got to meet.

Written and directed by Charles Wahl, this thoughtful, elegantly crafted drama probes the elusiveness and mysteries of human connection, as well as the unusual shapes and expressions of grief. It takes on the contemporary subject of online and digital relationships, but it asks eternal questions of what it means to really know someone, and whether such an idea is even possible, even in an age of over-sharing and 24/7 communication.

There is almost a severe sense of realism in the visuals, which manage to be both stark and muted by turns, thanks to an emphasis on natural and practical lighting. True to a film whose main characters are photographers, the cinematography is exquisite and restrained, able to conjure an enigmatic atmosphere by transmuting simple and mundane everyday details into symbols of almost talisman-like suggestion. The framings also alternate between a close, almost intense intimacy and an off-kilter distance when Kim is among Marlon’s community, emphasizing her separateness from his community and perhaps her own personal remoteness as a person.

Lead actor Kaelen Ohm offers an engaging performance as Kim, whose arc is essentially an outsider coming into an unknown world. The twist, though, is that she believes herself to be more on the inside as one of Marlon’s closest confidantes. She speaks with a gentle, kind yet almost naive confidence about his deepest thoughts that she was privy to. And yet as Kim encounters Marlon’s widow and their friends, their reactions evince a great skepticism and even hostility towards her.

How well does she know him, anyway? Could they really be just friends? Was there no ulterior motive? Were they really as close as she believed? Kim finds herself never quite drawn into the fold, leaving her in a state of suspension with her own strange grief.

“Little Grey Bubbles” doesn’t directly answer those questions, practicing an intelligent, rigorous storytelling economy guided by a sense of restraint and a refusal of easy sentimentality. Instead, perhaps recognizing that those answers are as elusive as an electronic ghost, it lets those questions hang in the air, both for viewers and for Kim.

Beyond that, it ponders just what happens to these modern bonds when they inevitably stop — as all relationships will, eventually, due either to the vagaries of life or mortality. It has been said that grief is the price we pay for love, and what’s remarkable about “Little Grey Bubbles” is how it portrays Kim’s grief as something essentially separate and isolated from the community of grief that his real-life friends and family share. In many ways, the isolation of her mourning feels a larger tragedy at the end — and poses disquieting, melancholic questions as many of our real-life relationships shape-shift in life and online as a society.




You Might Also Like:

Sylvia

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.

Avarya

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...

Ernie

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.

CODA

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.

Into the Silent Sea

By Andrej Landin | Sci-Fi
A Soviet cosmonaut who is stranded in space discovers a voice in the distance.

Infinite ft. George MacKay

By Connor O’Hara | Drama
A terminally-ill man has a plan to 'live on' and gets his friends to help.



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.