Sea Change (2014) – By Jonathan Hatfield

This is a short film about a girl with a rare medical condition and her older sister who has become a medical student by default and she does her best to help her sibling. The two travel a great distance in hopes that a recommended doctor will have the medical solution they’ve sought after for so long.

the climax could have been better executed. The story definitely touches on the topic of “sailing with the wind” instead of fighting it in a way that many people can relate to, but the unpredicted solution the sisters come to in the end could have been focused on more.

There was a moment in the film when the dying girl sees other kids her age enjoying life in a very specific setting. I feel that the film would have made more of an impact on the viewer if the scene would have been directed in a way that better captured the dying girl’s face and her longing of wanting to enjoy a normal life. A nice close shot full of emotion would have hit it home for me. Not necessarily crying – just up close emotion. The distance of the shot kept my own emotions at a distance and a little out of touch with the character’s perspective.

This moment, with a heavier, more emphasized climax, would probably have possibly brought me to tears or close to it.

I understand the appeal of using the rough, hand-held camera approach to instill more anxiety in the viewer and give the film more tension. But why in this film? This film could have looked great without all that wobbly screen throughout most of the movie. There are appropriate times to use this camera technique. For example: District 9, Cloverfield, or any movie where a teen is holding a cheap camcorder.

The script was good overall. I would say more interesting than most films because the diseased sister’s issue was not discussed much. It was left as a mystery. Which is probably one thing that saved this film.

Speaking of mystery, this film does an excellent job of showing the story and not telling. This is too rare.

The older sister is obviously heart broken and burned out from taking care of her younger sister. The younger sibling is obviously immature while traumatized from her condition. But the film shows, not tells – excellent!

So, I personally did not enjoy this film as a whole, but I did appreciate the aspects listed above.

My rating: out of 10 (10 as highest)

General: 7
Storyline: 6
Script: 8
Acting: 9
Sound: 9
Directing: 8
Cinematography: 8