“Even the smallest act of kindness can make a difference in the life of a hurting kid”
This message of friendship and compassion is acutely embedded into the narrative of the 2014 short film Cedar Street, written and directed by Monica Graves. Yet despite the best of intentions, the story fails to strike an emotional note with the viewer, which is essential if one is to take the fate of the film’s protagonist to heart.
The story opens in a flashback, with a grownup narrator. A young woman recalls the way she and her friends spent most of their summers: “torturing the boy next-door”, or rather teasing him, by making up pretenses to prevent him from joining the clubhouse of their “all girls club”.
The boy, Jeremiah (Xander Gosnell), then has no other option but to hang out in front of his house overhearing shouts from his mom and her latest boyfriend. The girls continue to tease him and finally announce that he may join their club, but only if he agrees to spend a night in the clubhouse located in the vicinity of an abandoned train tracks.
The film is well-scored and the paper miniatures used to mirror real world events are a nice touch. However there is a lot to be desired from the editing as it fails to introduce suspense and generally make good use of the miniatures, with the exception of the very last scene. Most of the cast performed reasonably well in their respective roles, even if at times the dialogue felt a bit stilted.
Cedar Street features good ideas with poor execution. Still, it’s worth seeing for the sake of its final message of compassion.