Stella Maris (2017) short film review

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A troubled widow struggles to deal with her only son’s sickness and pushes him to sing in church in the short film Stella Maris.

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In the film making world, five thousand dollars doesn’t get you much. You could spend it on a name actor for a one-day shoot. You could spend it on a single location, or maybe some catering. Or, you could give it to director Kalainithan Kalaichelvan so he can produce an incredible short film like Stella Maris.

Beautifully shot in black-and-white by Caleb White, Stella Maris is gorgeously lensed. Every single shot is a work of art with lighting used to great effect. It really is one of the best-looking short films we have seen in quite some time and it captures an era of film that has since long passed.

JoAnn Nordstrom plays Lydia, a religious woman whose husband has recently died at war. Left alone to look after her sickly son Eli (Maddox Hayward), she fails to (or doesn’t wish to) comprehend the seriousness of his illness and instead of obeying the wishes of a doctor, pushes Eli to sing in the local church. Nordstrom does an exceptional job as the beaten down Lydia.Stella Maris Poster 194x300 Stella Maris (2017) short film review

It’s not just the performances that are strong though, every single aspect of Stella Maris is exceptional. From the audio, score (which was by director Kalachelvan’s brother too), the costumes, locations and set design; Stella Maris is a short made by some really talented people.

Stella Maris is a very well-crafted work of art that needs to be seen to be appreciated, and we at Screen Critix certainly appreciate the effort that has gone into this stellar short film.

5 / 5 stars     

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