Oh, the worries of a parent. It's something that truthfully you need to experience you understand. You can get the point, but you will never really get it unless you have kids. So what happens when you're overprotective? Nobody with kids plans to become an overbearing parent, but depending on any given situation - it's a very slippery slope until one day... you're one of them. It's really that fast, and writer Antti Toivonen is banking on everyone at least understanding the concept - but for those actually with kids? "Are You Hungry?" will be all the funnier.
The spoiler-free synopsis is pretty simple. Mom is becoming increasingly worried about her son Tomi. He seems to have no friends and more or less just sits around fiddling on whatever electronic device he uses. It's also very hinted that Tomi is probably gay, but this fact is not set in stone. Yet it is for his mother, who begins to really think this may be the case. In an attempt to help him socially, she gets herself into a situation where almost immediately she fears the worst. That Tomi is about to be possibly assaulted, or at the very least taken advantage of. The remainder of the film is a visual gag reel of her trying to prevent anything bad happening. And yes reader, it is quite comedic at times.
"Are You Hungry" is a technically great film, so I won't be ranting much regarding the technical merits. It did put forth a 90s vibe in my opinion, both in terms of coloring and pacing. No complaints from me, I love the movies of that era. Where this film shines is with its dry approach to comedy. There are some visual gags, my favorite involving some construction equipment, but mostly it comedy that could actually happen. Maybe a little over the top, but not so much as this becomes slapstick humor.
Tomi and his mom also happen to be portrayed quite well. Tomi being what many would consider a typical teenager, and his mom slowly stepping onto the worry train as it begins its slow acceleration. What was interesting here is that her worries are genuine, and most parents will instantly be able to relate. Her desperate attempts to connect with her son may be the main drive for the gags in the film, but that doesn't make them any less important. Lastly, I would like to touch on what I perceive to be a deeper, darker aspect of this film. It's the entire disconnect of Tomi from the real world. The source of his mother's worries. Very easily this could be linked to the internet and today's youth being over-connected, but I'll leave that for the viewer to decide.
Overall, I really enjoyed this short film. Teemu Niukkamen's direction, a good script and some great performances easily earn this short film a four-star review. Big thanks to the cast and crew for a few minutes of great entertainment. Thumbs up.