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Short Film "Small Talk" Cover Image of two girls sitting in the trunk of a car

Offering several snapshots into the hopes and fears of two college roommates, Small Talk explores the uniquely young-adult experience of vulnerability and asks the tough questions through the trials of growing pains.

Sky (Laurel Wong) and Jade (Precious Prado) open up in brief conversations about a multitude of issues circling the minds of college-age students since the dawn of time: family, mental health, and life’s ultimate purpose. Though the two girls come from different styles of upbringing and their individual goals are quite different, writer/director Prado emphasizes their commitment to one another as empathetic advisors and friends — a unifying comfort many of us long to see on-screen during these times.

The most impressive aspect of this film is the honest and natural performances given by the on-screen duo. The hesitation surrounding their insecurities plays effortlessly, as well as does their genuine platonic love. The technical elements of this film, though not flawlessly executed, aid in the emotional journey of their story.

The film opens with a “woozy” freehand shot that is reminiscent of the lost and uneasy feelings that come with the territory of young-adulthood. The cyclical nature of this film reinforces the uneasiness felt when there is a lack of concrete resolution, again driving home the major themes of this piece: uncertainty and longing.

A note must be made, however, on a surprising bit of dialogue during the climax of this film. In a seemingly misguided attempt at hyperbolic reasoning, or perhaps dark humor, a reference to Hitler is made in, what I consider, poor-form. Coming from way out of left field, Sky’s comment elicits a complacent reaction from her on-screen counterpart. Unfortunately, this particular interaction distracts and detracts from a major point being made at a pivotal moment of the film.

Incluvie score of 4 stars and movie score of 2.5 stars

Incluvie Film Festival review originally published on December 6, 2020.

Bianca Sbrocchi

Over-thinking film and pop-culture just like I do everything else.
Analyst/critic/enthusiast
Writer for incluvie.com
(she/her)

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