For Tammy, life is anything but idyllic, and right from the get-go, I had a good idea of where this film was going. As if losing her father wasn't enough, it's not long after that Tammy is raped by her alcoholic mother's boyfriend. To make matters worse? Tammy's mother, Simone, doesn't believe her and firmly believes Tammy is just jealous of what she has. The film fast-forwards, and we find out that Tammy is pregnant and eventually has the baby. As if being the mother of a child conceived through rape wasn't enough, Tammy is also forced to drop out of school and has no job. Sadly, this fictionalized drama is not as fictionalized as you may think - making "Through a Mother's Eyes" conceptually bordering on being a horror film.
Now, reader, as scary as director Chris Carter makes the concepts of this film feel there is a glimmer of hope all throughout this short film. Even as Tammy "does what she has to do" and comes dangerously close to ending up living the life of her mother, that glint of a happier ending persists throughout this short film's twenty-five-minute length. I won't get into any more spoilers, but I have to say that I loved the way this film ended. The story, written by Shadai Smith, could have only really ended in one of two ways, and no matter the choice, this would have been a powerful film. So which side did the scales slide toward? Mum's the word.
There were some production/post-production issues that, as much as I tried to ignore, kept coming back. Mainly the use of transitions - in particular, fade to blacks. There was a lot, and it altered my perceptions of the film from time to time. IndyRed has a great short write-up on using transitions which can be found here. Other than that? There were a few bits of dialogue here and there that felt a little under dramatized but overall, the acting was pretty solid. This is a film that showcases "real life" for a lot of people. There's nothing watered down, and I appreciated that. The "heroes" and "perfect people" don't exist in this movie - just as they don't in the real world.
A really good short film is really all I have to say about "Through a Mother's Eyes." It's real, down to Earth, and doesn't hold back. Chris Carter knows how to get a vibe that works and uses that gift fully to his advantage. Brimming with style and substance, "Through a Mother's Eyes" is a short film that is easy to recommend—three and a half stars.