The Old Man and the Lion (2012) – By Philip Smolen

An aging father (Jaimey McDunn) travels out of state to visit his estranged twenty something son (Carter Burch). When he arrives, it’s clear that he’s not welcome at his son’s home. The boy reluctantly makes dinner for his dad, but refuses to allow him in his room. In the morning, the father makes breakfast for the boy and goes to wake him. Upon entering his room, the dad sees evidence that his son is still stealing in order to make a living. The boy wakes up furious, screams at his dad and orders him to leave. It is a decision that both of them will soon lament.

“The Old Man and the Lion” is a poignant and sincere short from writer/director Justin Leyba. It’s a story of regret between two souls who have lost connections with one another and don’t know how to repair their relationship. The old man feels he is a failure as a dad and the young man believes he has let his dad down by turning to crime. Both believe they have failed to live up to each other’s expectations.

Jaimey McDunn and Carter Burch are great here as the father and son. You can really sense the hurt that lies just under the surface and how their failure with each other has led them to unfulfilled lives. This is a wistful short that reaches for your heart and seems to say that it’s never too late to repair broken relationships while there’s still time.

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