Toby Osborne, Amanda Spencer
Family. An integral part of what makes us human. With family comes endless joys, unconditional love, and ridiculous amounts of arguments. Especially for those who are not an only child. Ask anyone with siblings and they'll be quick to tell you - that brothers and sisters can quickly become... difficult. Sibling rivalry, arguments and downright mean behavior are staples of growing up with more than your parents. It is true that the good times are great, but the bad times can be horrendous. Because blood is thickest, tempers can always be just below the surface and hurtful words can be plentiful because in the end - somewhere deep down - we expect to be forgiven. Blood is blood right? Do these feelings also include guilt? You bet they do.
In case you're wondering, this does relate to "Every Grain Of Sand" from director Amanda Spencer - pun intended. Essentially, everything I've written above - is this short film. Except here, one of the sisters has a terminal illness - and both sisters are suffering. Lily is sick. Very, very sick and close to the end. We're never given a specific illness, but have no problems figuring out it's terminal. Her sister, Mae, has given up her life to tak on the role of caregiver. A tough thing by any stretch of the word, especially when it consumes everything you have. Financially and mentally. The two occupy a trailer and as for other family helping, there's no mention - save a deceased mother.
A point is made regarding Lily's health insurance, that had expired - and the fact she herself has seemingly given up. All this however, is simply the dressing for the salad. Amanda Spencer and Toby Osborne, the writers, use an illness to create a tale of... you guessed it... family. A terminal family member is a powerful back drop for any story, but it could have been substituted for many other tragic life events. The key here was creating the powerful family story, complete with a strained dynamic. Feelings of obligation mixed in with genuine hatred. All held together by blood. One sister, ashamed and guilt ridden from uprooting and possibly ruining the life of the other. The other, trapped and forced to watch her sibling wither away - with only a ruined life as payment. But in the end, "Every Grain Of Sand" reminds us that this is what family does for one and other. It also reminds us that as tough as things can get, there's nothing greater than the gift of family. Loving someone enough to give up your life is a blessing - for both or all. Love is what makes a family... a family.
"Every Grain Of Sand" was technically a well rounded production. Decent edits, a great script written by Toby Osborne and Amanda Spencer, and some very... very talented actresses. This was one of those movies that blurs the line between acting and real life. These two leading ladies performed so well, they could have been real sisters. I may have just witnessed the next reality television show! Jokes aside, the talent in front of the lens made this a real pleasure to watch. As for the technical aspects? Not much to complain about. "Every Grain Of Sand" doesn't sport a sleek ten million dollar production setup/crew... but it doesn't need one. Everything is on point and the film is all the better for it.
When it's all said and done, "Every Grain Of Sand" is a feel-y kind of short film. It's what happens when you pair a good script with a set of talented actors. Spencer's film, is not meant to be earth shattering. It's meant to keep things close to home. Small but powerful. For those who have been in a similar situation, this flick will offer up a one-two punch. However, even for those lucky enough to not have been in a similar situation - it's all spelled out quite nicely, and almost as powerful. Thumbs up for leaving average in the dust - four stars. It was a pleasure.