Cotton Wool (2017) short film review

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When a single mother suffers a stroke, both her life and the lives of her two children are changed forever in the powerful short film Cotton Wool.

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After receiving four stars from ourselves for his previous short film Northern Lights, British director Nicholas Connor has now returned with his latest work entitled Cotton Wool – a heartwarming and eye-watering short film that revolves around the struggle of coping with the after-effects of a stroke.

The short starts with Rachel (Leanne Best) trying her damnedest to make life work. A single mother to two children, one being teenager Jennifer (Katie Quinn) and her young son Sam (Max Vento), Rachel is finding it increasingly difficult, especially when her daughter refuses to help around the house. Things take a turn for the worse when Rachel has a stroke leaving her in a wheelchair and without the ability to talk clearly. With the help of carers and even Sam, Rachel starts her rehabilitation, but it soon becomes clear that daughter Jennifer would rather go out drinking with friends than face up to the challenges that life has thrown at her.Poster 2 300x226 Cotton Wool (2017) short film review

As mentioned above, Cotton Wool is a powerful short film. Scratch that, it’s a very powerful film, that tackles a subject that many families go through. Connor, who does a wonderful job in the directing department (we’ll delve further into that shortly), also manages to deliver a screenplay that is certainly worthy of some accolade. The dialogue is on point throughout and performed in such a manner by all the actors involved, it is guaranteed to make many a viewer shed a tear. This is not hyperbole, Cotton Wool makes for an emotional half hour’s viewing.

The cast is made up of some great up-and-coming actors like Katie Quinn. As the (rather selfish) typical teen, Quinn has all the makings of someone who could go far in a jam-packed industry of hungry and talented individuals. In fact, I was suitably impressed by all the actors in Cotton Wool, they all did exceedingly well, but none more so than Leanne Best. As Rachel, Best is a revelation and will surely collect some awards for the cabinet after this role. Having already performed in such films as Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Woman in Black – the latter as the titular character herself – Best will surely go on to much bigger roles and Connor’s short film may just be vehicle to help take her there.

It’s been a little over a year since we saw Nicholas Connor’s Northern Lights, but it seems the young director has improved leaps-and-bounds from then, and he was already a talented and capable director. Now, he is really coming into his own and certainly cementing his status as one of the UK’s hottest prospects. He has shown maturity in his work, couple that with his knack for making his shorts cinematic and compelling, I’m sure we will all be snapping up cinema tickets in the near future; eager to get a look at his latest movie creation.

Cotton Wool is a fantastic short film that may even make you question your own family dynamic.

5 / 5 stars     

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