Between Friends (2015) – By Philip Smolen

Rose (Darlene Johnson) and Ida (Linda Gustafson) are senior citizens and have been friends a long time. They both live in a small apartment house run by the belligerent Edwin (Gunther Gullickson). Edwin’s late father gave Rose and Ida a lifelong lease to their apartments and the evil Edwin wants to get them out. So he torments them all day long and even refuses to provide them with heat. At their wit’s end, the two sweet ladies don’t know what to do until Ida suggests that maybe she and Rose should kill Edwin. After all, then Edwin’s nice sister will take over the building and then the two friends will be on easy street. But the only problem is that Rose and Ida are nice and they don’t know how to kill someone as nasty as Edwin. But they seem to be willing to try…

“Between Friends” is an 11 minute short film from writer/director John Scott and it’s a cinematic short delight. Recalling such classic Hollywood films as Frank Capra’s “Arsenic and Old Lace” (1944) and Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Trouble With Harry” (1955), Scott strikes the perfect balance of satire and seriousness. Rose and Ida are gentle souls, who just want to live quiet lives, but Edwin is a horrible monster and he just won’t leave them alone. His abusive behavior drives them to plan a monstrous crime. But even when they decide on what to do with Edwin, the two old friends just can’t find the time to carry out their plan.

Both Darlene Johnson and Linda Gustafson are enchanting as the two friends. They infuse their characters with both charm and sympathy. They really do remind you of a beloved aunt that each of us grew up with. Gunther Gullickson is also great as the evil Edwin. You can practically see the slime running off him.

“Between Friends” is a charming and funny look at the desperate measures two loveable old ladies will consider in order to stop their torment. Writer/director Scott has concocted a pleasing short that is a perfect blend of sweet and tart cinema. I was smiling for the film’s entire 11 minutes.

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