Harold’s Gift (2013) – By Philip Smolen

Jim (Dan Hale) has just come back home after the reading of his estranged father’s will. Instead of money or stocks and bonds, Jim receives a handwritten music composition that in his father’s words “is the finest thing I’ve ever created.” Bitter, Jim tells his wife Alex (Meredith Lyons) how he isn’t even upset that his father has died. The next day Jim receives a letter from the local adoption agency informing the couple that because of their financial struggles, they are ineligible to adopt a child. Later, Jim goes to the piano and starts to play his father’s composition. But every time he begins, the lights flicker madly. But when Jim calls for Alex, the lights stop flickering. Jim is determined to play the piece without anyone else around, so later when Alex is at her parent’s house, Jim starts to play the piece again. But even he isn’t ready for what happens next.

“Harold’s Gift” is a moving and magical tribute to the power of love. There’s a lot to like in writer/director Adam Orton’s short which focuses on Jim and Alex’s struggle to start a family. Both know that they would be good parents if given the opportunity; however, that chance consistently eludes them.

Orton has created a sweet and pleasing film that generates a great deal of genuine warmth. Dan Hale and Meredith Lyons are appealing as the struggling couple and are so natural in their roles that I could easily see them living in my neighborhood. Orton directs confidently and also contributes an evocative score that really sells the film’s magical premise. “Harold’s Gift” is a wonderful short that touches your heart without being syrupy.

To see the trailer for “Harold’s Gift”, please visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KA1wl5-ZVlk

To learn more about “Harold’s Gift”, please go to: https://www.facebook.com/HaroldsGiftShortFilm