By midlandsmovies, Aug 20 2019 07:48PM
Midlands Review - Can’t Hide It
Directed by Richard Miller & Grant Archer
Body in the Box Productions
From Body in the Box Productions comes Can’t Hide It, the latest short film offering from the mind of Richard Miller.
The film starts with a woman sat at her dressing table, music playing heavily below, she stares at the mirror directly in front and deeply into her eyes. She seems distressed but we don’t know why. She lowers a festive Christmas jumper over herself, fixes her hair and proceeds to join the rest of the party.
The woman is revealed to be Kim (Esther McAuley) who is in the middle of hosting a Christmas party with her partner (Gavin Fowler). As the guests weave in and out, smiles plastered across their faces we see Kim at ease but with an uncomfortable vibe surrounding her.
We as the audience can detect something is not right, especially as Christmas is supposed to be a joyous occasion and not a tense, strained one.
Over the next few shots we see the couple making their way to a hospital, and as they arrive they gather their thoughts before they head to their appointment. It is apparent now one of them is ill, which is revealed to be Kim.
A nurse prepares her for chemotherapy and places a “cold cap” onto her scalp, this is designed to hopefully diminish the chances of hair loss during the procedure. She doesn’t want to lose one shred of herself to this disease. This is all shot on-location at the hospital in Burton, which adds extra credence to the picture.
Kim calls her parents to inform them of the news, something she hasn’t done until her first session of chemotherapy is over. An understandably emotionally charged Kim struggles as she explains what she will be going through over the next few months. It is tough viewing as we see a determined, strong woman enduring such a tough time.
Directors Richard Miller & Grant Archer successfully manage to portray a “real” relationship between the couple and their reaction to living with this disease. Kim’s partner remains positive and optimistic to support her, as well as throwing in the odd inappropriate joke about the disease to make her laugh. His role in the film is an important one, and the directors make sure to highlight how helpless the other half can feel whilst their loved one is in pain which is a refreshing take to see.
Can’t Hide It benefits from an absolutely powerhouse of a performance by Esther McAuley who deserves heaps of praise for her heart-breaking portrayal of Kim. Her chemistry with Gavin Fowler is also notable, and without this I doubt the film would have resonated as much as it did with this viewer.
I was familiar with Miller and Archer’s previous works such as the brilliant, darkly comic short film The Exchange that they directed a few years ago. However, Can’t Hide It is their best work I have seen so far. It is sometimes hard to look at the screen as it is that moving but only gentle hands could effortlessly move from scene to scene with precision like pace without sacrificing authenticity of the situation.
As the credits rolled I found myself wishfully hoping Kim had beaten it or was at least on the path to, these fictional characters are written with such care by Richard Miller that they could be any one of us or any one we know, it is something a lot of us have experienced first hand or second hand but a film that demands to be seen regardless.