fiction often uses relativity to tragically separate people, as in Christopher Nolan’s
Interstellar and L. Ron Hubbard’s To the Stars (the inspiration for the
Chick Corea concept album). However, a terminally ill mother intends to use
relativity to bring her back into her daughter life at key junctures. At least
that is the idea. The reality will inevitably be much more complicated in David
Gaddie’s short film Beautiful Dreamer (trailer here), which screened
at the 2016 Dances with Films.
mother is not alone. There are many incurable volunteers who have enlisted in
her light-speed-traveling research program. She has only two years left to
live, but she looks eternally youthful during her irregular visits home. In
contrast, Amy and her father have lived and aged years at a time, without her.
She will get to see Amy grow up and become a mother herself, but her daughter
often resents her absence. Indeed, it is hard to give a simple yes or no answer
to the question: was it worth it?
and Steven Kelleher’s adaption of science fiction novelist and translator Ken
Liu’s short story “Memories of My Mother” wrestles with some big ideas while
requiring hardly any special effect, just careful casting. (Oddly enough,
Gaddie throws in some unnecessary effects, which are probably a mistake.) It is
really about the parental-child bond enduring under extreme challenges.
Taylor, Caroline Bednar, Natalie Smith, and Lynn Cohen form the impressive relay
team of Amys, smoothly passing the baton down the line. Jo Armeniox portrays
the mother wrestling with the consequences of her decisions with quiet,
understated power. Theis Weckesser also deserves credit for his acutely
sensitive portrayal of Amy’s father.
This is one of the rare futuristic short films
that is truly an actor’s showcase. Most of its speculativeness are probably
mostly afterthoughts, but it is still striking the extent to which drones have
apparently been integrated into this near-future world. Regardless, the
mother-daughter separations and reunions are always quite moving. Recommended
for fans of character-driven science fiction, Beautiful Dreamer next screens in July at the 2016 Big River Film Festival in Savanah, following its West Coast premiere at this year’s Dances
with Films in Hollywood, CA.
Labels: DWF '16, Ken Liu, Sci-Fi films, Short Films