Gem ★★★★ BFI Flare 2023 (Short Film)

Gem ★★★★ BFI Flare 2023 (Short Film)

Gem is a heart-warming yet vulnerable short from Jim Muntisov that shows the importance of finding that person to connect with, even if it is someone to bear your soul to. Gem hits all the right notes.

Morgan spends their days alone in their apartment, spiralling about their shifting gender identity. Then, a chance encounter with a familiar stranger thrusts Morgan out of their world, allowing them the opportunity to express who they really are.

There is a wonderful softness present in Jim Muntisov’s Gem that you will not immediately find elsewhere, be it the use of lighting throughout or the 16mm film used to film the movie. There appears to be great care for Morgan (played exceedingly well by Joseph Limn) that we can’t help but follow their journey, they could be working in the clothes store or leaning against a wall, and we would gravitate towards them. So to see Morgan’s conflict within themselves hits you all the more.

The rawness and honesty placed in Morgan’s speech about how they feel about themselves wallop you. It feels as authentic as they come to have a character describe their feelings and an emotional situation like this. We are continually hindered by the many thoughts in our brains, not to say how we feel, to keep it in. For Morgan to believe in another person, allowing another person in, if only for an evening, is inspiring. We all need those moments, those people to come in and help us.

Muntisov has written a character and a story that can be transplanted anywhere. You can relate immediately if you are in a similar position to Morgan. Though, in truth, even if you are not in a similar position to Morgan and you simply have the inability to find the words in a situation or about yourself, you can connect to Gem. This smartly written film allows us to see ourselves in some form with Morgan; you find yourself in a reflective state once the credits roll as the story settles within you.

Gem is a lovely short film that has you hoping that everyone finds that person to whom they can finally reveal themselves emotionally. It doesn’t matter if that person is one of your inner circle or someone you meet in a chance encounter. The only thing that matters is you find that connection, so like Morgan, you can discover yourself or find your voice and finally be comfortable. A great short film, Gem has an important story to get out and achieves this tremendously well—literally a gem of a movie (sorry).


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