People deal with the loss of a loved one in many different ways. Some fill their time with endless chores to hide behind the pain; others may seek the emotional support of those they love. With their short film Weathered, filmmakers Matt Barber and Matt Webb have told the story of one woman’s grief in a compassionate and uniquely dramatic fashion.
The film depicts the emotional state of a woman named Weather Wellington (Nicole Parker) who has just recently lost her fiancée to cancer. Lost in her grief, she spends her days meeting with doctors of all types, searching for an invisible ailment that can mask her trauma. The only companion she has now is a pet turtle, a gift from her fiancée, which she takes to all her appointments.
The opening sequence is both amusing and slightly heartbreaking. Weather visits a dentist, dermatologist and optometrist, all unable to diagnose her with any affliction. However, two doctors warmly suggest Botox to clear her wrinkles; an ironic commentary on the superficial nature in which men and women hide behind cosmetic issues, instead of attacking the real problem.
Parker’s acting is a strong portrayal of controlled emotional chaos. Outwardly, she pushes through to normalcy, while inwardly her emotions are vast and confounding. Parker uses her facial expressions to hint at her deep swelling pain. That is until she visits a Dr. Tomas (played with a tender touch by Cynthia Avila) who discovers her true psychological condition. When the doctor advises her to seek a therapist, Weather’s emotional bubble bursts and Parker is finally able to express her character’s hidden pain.
Weather’s outlook does not look good until she meets a fellow silent sufferer, Stanway Steini (Tony Hale). Steini also brings a pet to the doctor. Like Weather, he too is unable to let go, holding on to whatever emotional bridge to normalcy he can find. The meeting of these two lost souls has a profound effect on Weather’s life, allowing her to find hope in the comforting fact that she is not the only person suffering in this world.
The universality of loss and grief allows the audience to make a connection with these two lost, but kind individuals. The success of the filmmakers comes from their ability to convey basic, but profound emotions in an endearing, but slightly offbeat way.
Weather is searching for answers, “why” in particular. And like many of us in this world, she turns to doctors for relief. It’s in her desperation that we see that one of the best cures for pain is in the simple, but honest connections we make with the people around us. Weather may have found someone to connect with, but the audience is the ultimate winner in this heartfelt drama.
The film’s faults are minor, but worth mentioning. The interplay between the film’s music and action is often disjointed. The solemnity of the screenplay requires softer tones to match the emotional consistency. Lastly, the flashback sequence highlighting the relationship between Weather and her deceased fiancée is too abrupt and could have used more emphasis. Neither of these two elements though weakens the overall effectiveness of the pitch-perfect screenplay and endearing performances.