Daniel James Dismuke
Daniel James Dismuke, Matt Thomas
To be honest? "Mama's Boy" hit a little closer to home, for me, than I would like to admit, and for a short film running at just under twenty minutes, there's a lot of power here. That's right, reader, Daniel James Dismuke's dramatic entry does not require much of a time investment, and the payoff is well worth it. For some, this is a film that will offer an alternate perspective on some of the darker things in life. Of course, that's not to say that one shoe fits all, but even those who don't quite agree with what's happening onscreen, there will no doubt be at least some aspects of this film they will relate with - or at least understand.
In a nutshell, "Mama's Boy" centers on the aptly named character "Son" and his relationship with his deceased mother. More accurately, his lack of a relationship. You see, the "boy" is a drug addict, and on this particular day, his mother's birthday, he is really hitting the drugs hard, eventually causing a hallucination of his dead parent. Or, you could perceive his vision as not a hallucination at all and, instead, a way for the filmmaker to demonstrate an inner struggle. No matter how you decide to take it all in, however, the end result is clear. The son blames his mother for his addiction but just beneath that not-so-hidden revelation? Does he really, or is blaming her just an excuse? "Mama's Boy" delves into the mind of an addict while exploring forms of abuse, self-loathing, upbringing, and obviously addiction. Sometimes adults need help too - right?
There's very little to write when discussing the technical elements of this film. For the most part, everything is kept simple and to the point, lacking any real pizzazz or complexity. And yet, that considerable lack of complex production and post-production aspects is what also makes this film shine - allowing the viewer to focus on Dismuke's characters and the performances. There does feel like some spit and polish exists, but this short film is still quite gritty and natural feeling.
As for those performances I spoke of? Excellent. Dismuke has no problem embodying his character, and although not nearly seen as much, Jennifer Collins as the mother just screams regret and perhaps even a little anger at times. But it's the overarching aspects of the story that take center stage - among them is the play on responsibility. Again, I don't want to spoil the film, but once you watch it, you'll get it. "Mama's Boy" is one of those low-budget flicks that lean into its independent nature and come out all the better for it. Of that, there is no question.
When it's all said and done? "Mama's Boy" is one of those indie movies you won't regret spending some time with. It may be quick to end, but don't let that fool you - there's a lot packed into its short run time. Daniel James Dismuke's film is a well-written, well-made indie film that surpassed my expectations with ease—highly recommended. Four out of five stars.