Monday, March 14, 2011

Wish 143 (2009)

1 Nomination, 0 Wins

After watching Na Wewe and The Confession, two depressing nominees for Best Short Film, Live Action at the 83rd Academy Awards revolving around African genocide and childhood trauma, I hesitated when I read the IMDB summary for Wish 143: Tells the story of a young man desperate to come of age before time runs out. The final push into an evening of total despair would, it seemed, come from the story of a young man dying from cancer.

Like Na Wewe, Wish 143 attempts to find light in darkness. The film is the story of a young cancer patient who, when a charity attempts to grant his dying wish, says that he wants to lose his virginity. The film sweetly, if predictably, chronicles his various attempts to lose his virginity. The filmmakers avoid the broad humor which could have easily followed the concept, and instead focus on the pain, both physical and emotional, of the young man as he fights to retain his dignity.

Though the plot of the film is rather predictable, most scenes are filled with genuine and honest emotion. The narrative takes a couple of wrong turns, but the lead performance by Samuel Holland anchors the film through its subtlety. Jodie Whittaker also turns in a strong, understated performance in her brief scene, transforming a scene we have seen many times before into an honest moment.

Wish 143 is in no way breakthrough cinema, but neither is it cloying or manipulative, which is what I expected from its plot summary. Ian Barnes has crafted a fine short film that deserved its nomination, though like the members of the Academy I would not have chosen it as my favorite short of the year. Now that I have seen all five nominees, my vote would go to God of Love, mostly because it is the film that is most different from its competitors and thus stands out the most.

Remaining: 3167 films, 881 Oscars, 5454 nominations

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