‘Where’s Lilli?’ is a delightful short film that touches one’s heart with its very simple premise and brilliant execution. Directed by Michelle Martinez, the short charms its viewers with its wholesome innocent humour that one is equally likely to experience in their everyday life. In its 18:18-minute duration, it manages to perfectly showcase the characters of the film in depth and yet tell a story that each one of us has something to take away from.
There are three main characters, Wally the Clown (Bryan Fernandez), the eponymous Lilli (Leah Janvier) and Jessica (Johanny Mota), Lilli’s babysitter. Supporting characters include Lilli’s mom (Harper J. Harris) which she plays with the perfect authority of a strict mother, and Tonya (Deonna Bouye), Jessica’s friend, who is shown to be a bit self-obsessed. The performances by Fernandez and Janvier are the soul of the movie.
‘Where’s Lilli?’ is about these two characters who cross paths and knowingly or unknowingly end up helping each other. Lilli is a bright, smarter-than-her-years, little girl and in a way helps Wally the Clown overcome his fears and face up to his challenges. When Lilli initially meets Wally the Clown she’s fascinated by him. He shows her a few tricks and she laughs without reserve, lacking Jessica’s wariness. Little do they know that their paths would meet in the near future in a significant way.
The direction by Michelle Martinez is quite impressive. She has a very deep understanding of each character and brings out the best in each of the actors. Her style of direction is simple and straightforward and moves the story at a rapid pace. Each scene is short and succinct, which is one of the reasons the movie portrays this feel-good story so perfectly.
The script, written by Johanny Mota is a masterpiece. She uses some clichés in her characters but uses them to create a warm story. The script translates well into the film, though the film does end rather unsatisfactorily. Mota has set the story in everyday locations and they lend an air of immediacy and documentary-like realness. Music is very sparsely used in the short film but it could have been better.
‘Where’s Lilli?’ gives its audiences (along with its characters) a mild nudge to face their fears and overcome it, letting you see in the bargain, that that’s the only way to conquer them and find happiness. It’s a surprisingly deep movie despite it being a comedy.
Watch Where’s Lilli? Short Film
Where's Lilli? Is A Tale About Finding Inspiration & Conquering Fears