Golden (2013) – By Philip Smolen

Hank (Bain Boehlke) is a senior citizen who has just come home for the day. He discovers that his beloved wife of 50 years, Maria (Wendy Lehr), has passed away while he was gone. Unable to process the enormity of this situation, Hank continues on with his daily chores such as working at his tool bench, doing the gardening and preparing dinner. Every so often he comes back to the living room and glances at his beloved. He’s determined to enjoy one last day with Maria before he has to let her go for good.

It’s tough for a short film to touch viewer’s emotions in only nine minutes, but that’s exactly what writer/director Kjell Kvanbeck succeeds in doing with “Golden.” It is a look at a real-life situation that, unfortunately, is too common among married seniors. Hank is presented as a simple man who enjoys a simple life. Seeing his dead wife is too much for him and he takes to his everyday habits as a way to cope with new circumstances. He knows that without Maria, his life will be vastly different, so he putters around the house and ignores her death as best he can. He even talks to his daughter on the phone without mentioning Maria’s death!

This is a melancholy and wistful short that is well made and not afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve. Kvanbeck brings dignity to Hank and Maria’s lives and successfully shows that they both shared something very special. Bain Boehlke is mesmerizing as Hank. You can actually read the conflicting emotions that are running through his mind. He brings real nobility to this senior who only wants to celebrate his golden wedding anniversary with his beloved.

“Golden” is a brave short film that focuses an intense light on one of life’s most terrible tragedies. Honest, caring and touching, “Golden” succeeds in finding your heart.

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