Love, loss…and a car. The producer’s description of the 2019 Oscar listed short & Cannes winner Sylivia doesn’t make for the most inviting tagline. Nonetheless, if you do choose to step past any initial scepticism, brother and sister team Richard and Rachel Prendergast who blew £10,000 of savings in to Sylvia, will treat you to a hearty serving of your own tears and you scramble past any other viewers to fight for the first tissue.
Setting out on what initially seems like a carefree journey with her family, full of eye-spy, ice-creams and the beautiful Norfolk countryside, we’re soon driven down a sorrowful path as we discover the heart-breaking reason this journey began.
The fact that Sylvia is based on a true story from Kentucky, USA makes it all the more powerful. Its’s high on emotions and it’s even higher on performance.
From shot 1 Jolie Lennon gives a formidable performance. Seemingly best known for being a stunt performer in Wonder Woman and Justice League (although my favourite credit of hers is for Super Seducers 2), she sets herself free in Sylvia and blew me away. Her character Mandy has been through ups and down, just like her car Sylvia, and just like Sylvia she’s a survivor.
You see real truth, depth, strength and vulnerability in her performance and I struggled to believe this wasn’t real. Credit should go to Richard Prendergast the director who’s skilfully put this all together with some beautiful shots at a bus stop capping off a brilliant 17 minute feature.
Short films can often strangely linger too long, with not enough plot or action, or they can bullet along without time to think or absorb. Sylvia is artfully timed, and thought through in every aspect. Moments feature a suitcase ask you why, where and how is that involved, with each movement deliberate and relevant.
Sylvia may be a tearjerker, and it may challenge the best of us to keep our cheeks dry, but it is For everyone and should be watched by everyone. I highly recommend Sylvia if you’ve got 20 minutes to spare at lunch or at home, and don’t mine blubbing everywhere.
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