Director: Peter Hoffman Kimball
Release Date: Slamdance '23
"Featuring an entirely Deaf cast and shot exclusively in American Sign Language, this is the story of a married couple who - after having tragically lost a child -seeks out a new, experimental therapy. Their grief is consuming them, destroying their marriage, and driving a wedge between them and the rest of society. They have found the only therapist who might be able to help them - but his process could be worse than anyone imagined."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
Millstone is one of those narrative shorts that is perfectly succinct and entirely compelling and leaves you wanting more. This is the perfect short story.
And how outstandingly incredible is it that all three actors are Deaf! Even better? The story has nothing to do with being Deaf and everything to do with being human.
Mike (CODA’s Daniel Durant) and Julia (Bellamie Bachleda) are a couple deep in distress and depression following the sudden death of their five-year-old. Their grief consumes them. Their memories haunt them. Then, a radical therapy is offered. They have the chance to forget. To start over. Perhaps.
But what if the price for this cure is incomprehensibly high? What is there to offer, especially for a marriage that does not have anything additional to live for?
Writer/Director Peter Hoffman Kimball presents a Twilight Zone-type thriller wrapped around a grief-strewn drama. And it works. The actors’ pain is amplified in the silence. There is no vocal yelling. There are no overacted tantrums. The actors emote through their facial expressions as the manic expressions of their hands frantically communicate in ASL.
Durant and Bachleda possess the right amount of chemistry that makes their separation believable. Eddie Buck’s Dr Prince is sinisterly straight. All three principals drive the narrative to an all-too early conclusion.
Encore, Mr Kimball. Your next project cannot come soon enough.