Winter Dunn gets everything perfectly right in her latest short, Dear Mama … Grief comes in all forms, and Dunn capably shows us just how complex that feeling is. An emotional and powerful film that is tremendously led by its two talented leads.
Director: Winter Dunn
Cast: Mikayla Lashae Bartholomew, Garland Scott, P.L. Brown, Maleena Lawrence,
Jennifer Lauren DiBella
The death of Tupac draws different reactions from a father and his young daughter, forcing them to confront the emotional aftermath of their own tragedy.
Loss is a horrible demon; it never strikes you in the same way as it does with someone else, as we see in Winter Dunn’s magnificent Dear Mama… Both of our characters are coping in their own way, with Tanisha focusing on the memories of her mother and father trying to push them away. Thinking that if the memories are not there, it is easier to forget the person you lost. While this could work, it almost certainly has its drawbacks emotionally, and we see that play out here in Dear Mama …
With such a strong script from Charmaine Cleveland, Winter Dunn has a great platform to jump off and takes as much advantage with it as possible, pulling her audience in with a story that constantly moves you. Yet, as good as the story is, there is still work to be done to ensure that the story really grabs you as it needs to, luckily for us, she is more than capable of rising to the challenge and gives us a film that stays with you, even more so if you have lost a loved one at a young age.
There is a wonderful natural quality to the camerawork here in Dear Mama …; the use of an observational style allows for the film to flow so well. The focus going in and out unintended allows for this nightmare situation for the family to almost come across as a dream. Yet, everything shot has purpose and care put to it in a rather touching manner.
Mikayla Lashae Bartholomew and Garland Scott are phenomenal; you buy everything they do here. As someone who has been in their position, their authenticity in their emotional positions is what devastates you. Bartholomew’s Tanisha is struggling and is put in a position by her father where she cannot grieve. She is getting pushed to just trudging along like her father, like a zombie. But she isn’t made that way, and when the news hits about Tupac, the grief that she was packing away (literally) comes back up to the surface like a newly reopened wound. She may be grieving for the artist, but really she is getting the chance to grieve for her lost mother.
This is a complex role, and Batholomew carries it all in her stride and really has you thinking that this happened to her. Equally, Scott does some great refrained work. His emotions are bubbling up on the inside, ready to burst, but he is keeping it together not to be that strong shoulder for his daughter but for himself. As such, he has taken a slightly selfish position in pushing everything back emotionally and not ensuring that his daughter is getting the care that she needs, and goodness, does she need her father right now. Both actors deliver not only strong performances but ones that show they have the talent to spare, and there is hope that their careers get a good boost from this excellent film.
As said throughout, Dear Mama … feels as if we are seeing events happen as authentically as possible. Causing a serious sense of discomfort and a feeling that we are intruding on two people’s most fragile moments. It is a brilliant take that showcases the complexity of grief. Dear Mama … is a film that you relate to immediately if you have lost someone and even if you haven’t, it gives you an important glance at what it really feels like to lose a parent.
For more of our reviews of the festival, please check out below:
I am but a small website in this big wide world. As much as I would love to make this website a big and wonderful entity. That would bring in more costs. So, for now all I hope is to make Upcoming On Screen self-sufficient. Well enough to where any website fees are less of a worry for me in the future. You can support the website below…
You can support us in a variety of ways (other than that wonderful word of mouth) and those lovely follows. If you are so inclined to help out then you can support us via Patreon, find our link here!. We don’t want to ask much from you, so for now we have limited our tiers to £1.50 and £3.50. These will of course grow the more we plan to do here at Upcoming On Screen.
Our other method if through the wonderful Buy us a Coffee feature, but seeing as we are not the biggest fans of coffee, a pizza will do! We keep it fairly small change on that as well and it allows you to give just a one off payment, so no need to worry about that monthly malarky! We even have a little icon on the website for you to find it and help us out with the running of the website.