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  • Charlotte Chapple

Short Film Review: Caroline

Short Film Review: Caroline

Written and directed by Celine Held and Logan George, Caroline is set in Texas, North America. It tells the story of a single mother who has to attend an interview but has no-one to look after her three young children, the eldest of which is called Caroline. The short 12 minute film shows the progression of the young six year old Caroline being left with a large responsibility and concerned passers-by soon get involved, leading to a fast escalation at the end, resulting in a breathtaking climax that leaves viewers truly shaken.

George and Held brilliantly capture the troubling way these types of situations escalate. Presenting the film from the point-of-view of Caroline, provides some comfort in her innocence and allows the gravity and extent of the situation to build gradually. This filming perspective also causes and internal debate and conflict for the audience – are there no excuses for the mother’s actions? Or do we sympathise with her struggles? The‘mob mentality’ that develops in the crowd that gathers is a very important aspect of the film as it portrays the violence in a way that was both threatening and also awkward – something that escalated naturally and doesn’t demonise or victimise either character too much.

The striking final image of the film shows Caroline with a tooth in her handand acts as a way to transition from the overblown, public drama of the fight to a more intimate moment of action. Bringing us back into Caroline’s point of view this simplifies the consequences of the conflict in an almost childlike way. The more prolonged shot and the way the camera movement follows the rocking movement of the mother as she tries to calm Caroline down, really draws the viewer in and makes you feel like a character in the story. This intriguing cinematography decision emphasises the personal and intimate feelings that develops through the film. All these combined aspects make the film morally complex and really makes the viewers question our views and opinions of the situation and think through our moral stance.

Caroline, is a great show of effective production techniques that are well thought out and each shot helps to build and develop the story. Throughout the short film, the use of diegetic sounds and narration helps portray a sense of foreboding. However, one production technique that particularly stood out for me was the application of different camera angles and shots. The use of a range of shots throughout the short film adds a well-thought layer to the cinematography, as in each change of scene, the shots develop in pace and pulse. This creates a dramatic arc that structures the short film, from the hook that intrigues viewers to the climactic pay-off.

Overall, I believe Celine Held and Logan Georgefound the perfect balance of narration, diegetic sound and varying shots to create a simple, yet morally complex and thought-provoking short film. The character development, dramatic arc and striking climax, showcase all the required elements of a drama, and for me Caroline is a true masterpiece of this genre.

Watch 'Caroline' here:

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