Raphael Dirani’s intent with Hello, My Sweet Boy is moving: to portray the heartbreak of a 30-something man coming out to his aged mother, sick with dementia.
Darrel’s parents live alone in a big house, stumbling around with fast passing thoughts and memories that refuse to stick. Yet, for all that this is painful, the film never attains its vision. The film suffers from a thin, underdeveloped plot, hinged on the single line of greeting, “Hello, my sweet boy!” from Darrel’s mother (Rosemary Thomas), who keeps forgetting that he has been in the house for some time. Due in part to under-direction and to stiff acting, the line begins to sound unnatural and insincere quite early in the film.
Brandon Morgan, who plays Darrel, is much more Brandon than Darrel, besides which his chemistry with Thomas has none of the warmth that one would expect in a mother-son relationship that has seen the years. What does effectively drive home the emotional cost of dementia is the repeated sound of the whistling kettle as Darrel’s mother keeps putting on the kettle for her son.
On the technical aspect of things, while editing is shoddy, the camerawork is almost always competent and motivated (the closing silhouette shot did not work favourably). As the camera follows the characters in fairly well-choreographed staging, the film takes on better shape than other factors allow it.
Dirani’s screenplay does have some good moments, the best of which comes as Darrel’s mother pauses while talking about his fiance, leaving the audience fully expecting another relapse, only to recall the name and finish her thought, evoking more emotion in the viewer than any other beat in the film.#ShortFilmReview: Hello, My Sweet Boy: Don't wait seven years to tell your parents you are in love. Click To Tweet
Hello, My Sweet Boy: Bittersweet Greetings Of Dementia