Under the directorial hat of Amanda Young, ‘Love, Gwen’ is a moving take on the life of a drug addict, Gwen (Allison Shum) and her equation with her sibling who is on the other side of the law. And, this remains the central theme of the film. And, although the title misleads you into believing Gwen as the main character, it is in fact, Alyssa (Valerie Jane Parker) who pulls forth the narrative. She is shown as a tough cop and yet a caring sister who moves heaven and earth to protect her little sibling, from the trappings she so gloriously seems to walk into!
The plotline goes as follows: one day, Alyssa receives a call from a bail bondsman who informs her of her sister’s activities. Her search for Gwen leads her to a shady motel. It doesn’t take long for her cop-eyes to figure out what is happening around. Out of mortal fear for her sister, she decides to remain vigilant through the night and yet the inevitable happens. Gwen goes missing. Will Alyssa ever find Gwen? Will the sibling bond pass the test this time? How far will you go for your sister? All of these questions are answered in a fast-paced, goose-bump inducing 28:22 minutes of screen time.
As if the story alone wasn’t intense, the dramatic quotient is raised even higher by Tyler Barksdale’s skilled cinematography. For instance, Alyssa’s struggles in the motel room are captured through the close-up and medium close up shots juxtaposed with warm tones lighting.
Valerie Jane Parker is a force to be reckoned with! She brings to screen such a strong presence that it’s hard to look away from her. Besides the stellar performances from all cast, including supporting actors Byron Herlong and Bralyn Stokes, the movie augments a reality check on the modern day problem of drugs and human rights violation such as sex trafficking. Make-up artist Morgan Rose, Blake Wilson and Grace Young do a fabulous job at making the characters look authentic. For instance, in the case of Gwen, half the battle was won with the make-up alone, and the other, with compelling acting.
Editor Grant Carpenter keeps the film edgy, while Dan Teicher’s music accompanies the narration never going overboard. ‘Love, Gwen’ is moving, touching and an absolute tear-jerker that is bound to make you want to hug your sibling in love and gratitude!#ShortFilmReview: Hold back your tears when she signs off her letter with 'Love, Gwen'! Click To Tweet