8 year old Michael struggles with his parents' divorce and tries the impossible to bring them back together.
Written By: Eduardo Michel Piza
Directed By: Eduardo Michel Piza
As far as Christmas films go, "A Christmas Wish" wasn't quite what I had thought it was going to be. Although the movie is set up to take place in-and-around the holiday season, it's not full of the Christmas cheer one comes to expect from a film with this style of title. By the time I figured this out, the movie came to an end and left me more than a little uneasy. Writer / director Eduardo Michel Piza has crafted a great short film that to me, just seems to have a less than fitting title. Or does it? I can't help but wonder if the expectations in my head stemmed simply from the name of the film; conjuring up warm fuzzy stories that only happen in the movies. Once those expectations were shattered I was left simply with a dose of reality, made all the more potent by my own opinions on what I thought should happen. However you want to slice it however, the end result was a damn fine short film.
There's not much to complain about when writing of the technical elements of this movie. "A Christmas Wish" is quite nice to watch. The camera work and shot compositions, lighting and audio all come across as top-notch. Throw a slick edit and some nice post work into the mix and you're left with a visual gem. It would have been nice to see something a little different added to the mix, something that would make this film stand out in a sea of other top-notch productions. With that written however, I recognize that most indie productions leave me writing that I would have loved seeing a more standard approach taken. Let's just say that if "A Christmas Wish" was playing on your favorite cable network you would never guess it was an indie.
The visual beauty of the film is matched only by the actors portrayal of their respective characters. Even the lead character Michael, played by Jentzen Ramirez feels like a real kid dealing with some tough issues. I understand that may come across as a little confusing to read, so let me put it like this. It can be tough to find believable child actors, very tough for the indie producer. In the case of "A Christmas Wish" however, that doesn't seem to be a problem. The acting contained in this short film is spot on and completely credible. It's not just Mr. Ramirez that pulls his weight though, every person in front of the camera seems to have mastered their craft, making a good script come across as a great one. A truly excellent job all around to the cast, and the folks who found them. Well played people... well played.
At the end of the day, "A Christmas Wish" is one hell of a dramatic piece. The use of the title as a device to drive the story home is a clever one. Intentional or not. In this day and age, everything Christmas related is supposed to have a happy ending. Christmas means warm and fuzzy, good deeds and giving for so many of us. The fact that this film is a little different; that it doesn't quite take you where you were expecting to end up is a brilliant dramatic prop... if you will. The dose of reality Eduardo presents to us is both true to life and completely unsettling. As I finish off this write-up I can't help but wonder what the future would hold for the films character Michael. I know life follows no real rules, but which side of the personality door would he have ended up... if this were not a fiction.
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