Saturday Shorts: Good Night
As a mother, I can tell you right now that sleep is probably the largest battlefield of parenthood (especially the toddler/young schoolage years). That should be your litmus test as a prospective parent: if you can survive a toddler trying to talk their way out of going to sleep, you’re cool. For those of you who got good sleepers… we can’t be friends. Please collect your things and exit through the front door. For those of you that have the scars and stripes to prove it, you’re cool. You get to stay. You even get a short film. Here’s Good Night, written by John Humphrey and directed by Jack Bennett.
I wasn’t expecting this to go to the place it did. It’s one thing to have a kid arguing sleep – once you add the dimension of a family adjusting to life without mom, it’s heartbreaking. Frank Dietz as The Dad feels a bit forced at times, but Henry Stephen Miller as The Boy sells it for me. The story that The Mom (Jo Holland) tells is one that’s fitting for most occasions, but works well in the context we’re given: perseverance and determination in the face of great change and hardship. It’s a good message for a child undergoing massive upheaval, and we understand part of why he’s so rooted in his routine: it was what he did with Mom. Mom knew what to do. Mom picked the right stories. Mom made the threat of monsters go away. We never get a reason why the mother character is dead, but her absence is felt. And in reaching out at the end, she feels it as well – she’s just a bit more quiet about it than everyone else. It’s a moving thought to think that the dead miss us as much as we miss them.