Leslie (2016) short film review

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A struggling singer/songwriter receives some news that will change her life forever in the latest short film from Alejandro Montoya Marin – “Leslie”.

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Unless you happened to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth and have had the help of wealthy and/or talented parents (see the likes of Jaden Smith and Paris Hilton for examples), the road to be a successful artist in any field can be an uphill struggle that is painful and unforgiving. Both sacrifices and compromises need to be made in order to become really great within your chosen field.

Holly (Kika Magalhaes) is having a tough time. She is actively pursuing a career as singer/songwriter by playing gigs in bars whilst juggling a daytime job working in a supermarket. Both aren’t well paid and she is finding it hard to make ends meet; she desperately needs money for rent, food and to fix her car. If that wasn’t bad enough, she is sort of in a relationship with a man who is preparing to move to St. Louis for work and she has just been given some life-changing news.

With all these problems stacking up, most people would quit the dream and settle for living (some what) comfortably and stable, but Holly isn’t like other people. She is the type of person who will roll with the punches and play the long game in order to reach her goals.

LESLIE POSTER Leslie (2016) short film reviewLeslie is a sweet yet powerful 15-minute long short film by director Alejandro Montoya Marin (Lo/Fi, Monday). He allows us to take a peek into the life of Holly when she is both hurting and when she was in a happier time by using some smart flashbacks – looking back at the start of a relationship. What really impressed me was Marin’s way he made us feel for his lead character in such a short time. Fifteen minutes flies by and to find a connection with the audience and Holly in such a short space of time is impressive. We want her to succeed, we want her to win at life and we want her to be rid of the pain she is going through. Achieving this is the sign of a good writer and director.

Leslie is beautiful to look at, and is lensed and lit to great effect by cinematographer Ariel Rakes. From the snapshots of night life in a busy city to the dream-like flashbacks, it all looks great and really suits the tone and mood of the story. Rakes and Marin have worked together on numerous occasions prior and I hope that they continue to collaborate for years to come.

The sound and score is all very well done too. The audio is crisp throughout and the music accompanies the visuals perfectly.

Lastly we have to talk about Kika Magalhaes performance as Holly. She gives the film her all and shines. With such a powerful performance, we’re sure she will have a very fulfilling and successful career in acting, of which we will be keeping a close eye on.


Leslie is a beautiful and powerful short film and one that we highly recommend.

5 / 5 stars     

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