Kyung Sok Kim
Some people believe that being a kid, who does not suffer some form of abuse, is the best part of a person's life. Yes, I'll concede that imagination and potential are probably at their highest points - and that children don't have to worry much about being responsible or having responsibilities, but that doesn't always equal a perfect life. Some things, in particular change, can not only be hard to understand but downright depressing - especially for a child. We adults can get by thinking they'll get over it; kids are strong; it's part of life and we all go through it. Right? Somewhere inside, however, we know that change, especially drastic change, is not always harmless. Stability is key... if only it were always possible.
"Furthest From" is the textbook example of everything I wrote above. In the film, we meet Jesse, who clearly enjoys her life as a kid even though it's clear her family is far from wealthy. She is fed, taken care of, and has lots of friends to play with. Only... something isn't quite right. The first clue is that Jesse seems to enjoy collecting mail from numerous postal boxes. We then quickly learn that all her friends are moving away due to a contaminated water supply, and things begin to make sense. As adults, we can fully appreciate and understand the need to keep our families safe, but for Jessie, it seems the world is slowly coming to an end. She's going to end up alone - and she's doing what she can to avoid it - including hiding warning notices regarding the water. It's when her best friend, Lucas, is found out to also be leaving that things really sink in, and Jessie realizes she is powerless to stop the inevitable. Change. Things change, and "Furthest From" captures these changes perfectly from a child's perspective.
The first thing I found myself thinking about when writing this was how good the acting was. Especially considering a good chunk of this film deals with kids. Amanda Christine does a fantastic job as Jessie, and the same can be said for Tucker Chandler as Lucas. They really capture what it means to be a kid going through some less than ideal changes. I even got the clear vibe of rebellion, which is hard to pull off even for an adult. Speaking of adults, they really do take a backseat in this short film, but still, manage to shine through in a believable way. Kyung Sok Kim, who directed this flick, has done a splendid job capturing some great performances all around - no question about that.
The other things I noticed were the different moods and atmospheres "Furthest From" exudes. From a bright, shiny, and full of hope opening segment straight through to a touching, sad piece close to the end - involving Jesse and her sister. Everything is captured and presented the way I believe it was imagined, and I can only assume writer Rex Reyes was more than happy with the result. The film is edited together nicely, and "Furthest From" not only felt tight and polished, but quick as well.
In the end, "Furthest From" was a nicely paced, well-acted low-budget film that doesn't tell a story of planet changing significance - but serves as a reminder that to a child, the smaller things mean everything. Of course, I'm sure this could also be seen as a pain in the ass for Jesse's mother and sister, and all the parents who had to up and leave... but that's surely not this film. Not at all. Four out of five stars. Well done.