Dear Dad (2012) – By Philip Smolen

Rick (Leandro Hernandez) is a grieving husband and father. His wife recently passed away and within the last week his amazing teenage daughter Sarah (Charlie Cook) perished in a senseless hit and run accident. Sarah was Rick’s entire world and she had the ability to make people realize their mistakes. However, it was one of her practical jokes that put her in the wrong place at the wrong time. So Rick’s quite upset when he receives an anonymous phone call from someone saying that they know who killed Sarah. The caller wants to meet Rick where Sarah died. Reluctantly, Rick goes and while he’s waiting, he sorrowfully relives Sarah’s last few days. What he doesn’t realize is that he’s about to witness a scene of ghostly revenge.

“Dear Dad” is an exceptional short film from director Abad Leyva and producer and screenwriter Bharathwaj Vijayakumar. They succeed in revealing Rick’s true feelings of loss and pain for Sarah, which significantly elevates the movie’s tragic tone. These scenes of Rick mourning for his daughter carry a considerable emotional impact and depth which is quite unusual for a short. The movie also has a great O Henry style ending that shocks and packs a good wallop. My only problem with “Dear Dad” is that to me, the act of revenge that plays out seems exceptionally cruel and out of place for these characters.

“Dear Dad” also features great photography and a terrific music score by Jose Pimentel, while Leandro Hernandez gives a standout performance as Rick. I emotionally connected with him immediately.

Leyva and Vijayakumar have made a striking tale of unresolved anguish and hurt. It’s an outstanding short film and one that any parent can immediately identify with.

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