Repetition breeds familiarity and familiarity creates a sense of home, even for the loneliest of souls. For George, it seems that he is more than content with the life he lives, but as "Baroness" kicks into gear, George seems a little less settled. Clean yourself up, go to the pub, have a few, rinse and repeat. Human interaction becomes brief conversations with his bartender and possibly the occasional patron who wonders in for a drink. It's clear that George is a private man right up until a mysterious face is seen reading a sign in the window.
Who's to say if the mysterious girl who keeps appearing is the catalyst for George's growing loneliness or if it's just a coincidence? But either way, eventually, this solitary man looks increasingly sad - even a little testy at his favorite bartender after a joke is made about the woman who keeps appearing outside. It's when George begins attempting a phone call that doesn't seem to be connecting and leaves the bar that his true feelings are revealed.
George, it seems, is missing his daughter terribly. After running into the woman in the window while walking, he breaks down and begins to unload on this stranger. The woman, Elena, is looking for a job, and the sign in the window? A help wanted sign. As George begins to unload his emotions on Elena, he eventually finds out she is seeking a job but is too afraid to go inside. George steps up and helps reassure the girl. What's the worst that can happen - but there's more. This conversation with a stranger has sparked George to give his daughter a call one more time...
There's a lot going on in this short film under ten minutes long, and yet - it's also quite simple. This is a film about human connection and the desolation that can creep in without that humanity within one's life. It's one thing to be able to be around other humans - and a completely different beast if you have nobody to share your personal life with. What good is anything without someone meaningful to share it with? Tom Alner's "Baroness" demonstrates this excellently, and as I wrote above, it's as complex as it is simple.
The bottom line? If you're looking for something quick that is capable of sparking conversation, "Baroness" may fit the bill perfectly. It's a well-crafted, well-acted short film that had, for me, the unexpected ability to hit an emotional chord that has me still thinking. No frills, no gimmicks, just a solid short film. Four stars.