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What Life Is

A man’s journey through maternal abuse.


Brandon Russell’s ‘What Life Is’ is a short drama that sinks its teeth into the psyche and refuses to let go. Alex Stricklin delivers a powerhouse performance as Jeremy, a man haunted by the specter of his late mother, whose twisted love and emotional/physical abuse cast a long shadow over his life. As he tries to build a future with the earnest and caring Kara, played with touching vulnerability by Harlee Lowder, Jeremy’s painful secret looms large.

Stricklin’s Jeremy portrays internal conflict, his every move shadowed by the memory of a mother who loved too much and too wrong. This isn’t just a story of past trauma; it’s an unsettling, poignant exploration of a man on the brink of self-destruction or salvation.

Russell’s direction is both daring and delicate, handling the disturbing subject matter with a finesse that keeps the audience riveted without feeling exploited. The cinematography by Jared Callan is stunning, with each shot framed to enhance the narrative’s emotional impact. The interplay of music, voice-over, and symbolic nature imagery adds layers to the storytelling, making the film not just a visual experience, but an emotional journey.

Kudos to all three actors for performances that feel raw and real, giving life to a bold script that tackles the dark corners of human relationships. ‘What Life Is’ is disturbing, yes, but it’s also a beautifully crafted tale of healing and self-discovery. It’s the kind of film that lingers in your mind, challenging you to confront the shadows of your own past. Russell has created a hauntingly beautiful piece of cinema that’s as unsettling as it is uplifting.

What Life Is Short Film


Runtime: 12 min
Genre: ,

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