Albert & Juliet (2012)

I don’t know exactly what the intended meaning behind “Albert & Juliet” was originally, but the entire time I sat through Nic Barker’s gut wrenching short film, all I could think of was “This is a film about a mom and her child.” I mean it would be a bit overbearing in dramatic weight to feature a mom with a newborn baby being relentlessly tortured by everyone around her, but in a sense I felt as if “Albert & Juliet” was symbolic of a single mom and her baby.

The teddy bear of course replacing the baby. Much of what occurs to poor Juliet is inexplicable. I mean there is so much aggression and violence displayed toward a young girl wielding a very inconspicuous little bear that it pretty much feels as if the bear is symbolic of Juliet who became pregnant as a teenager and garnered a child only to become the pariah of her community. She’s picked on by her classmates, and she’s basically tormented by her mother for reasons she can’t quite fathom. In the end Enya Daly gives a truly good performance as young Juliet who seems nothing else but to be left alone to bond with her bear and it becomes the target of violence, in spite of her passiveness.

When the ending finally rolled around I pretty much perceived the climax as Juliet ending the life of her only child to prevent it from experiencing further human cruelty. Though the entire film is subtle and implied, I felt as if the film was just about so much more than a girl and her bear. In either case, director Nic Barker creates a truly compelling short drama and it’s a gripping story about maintaining innocence in a heartless world. Perhaps I’m reading too much in to it, but “Albert & Juliet” screams waves about themes that I picked up from the simple premise. With a gut wrenching finale and a great performance from its lead, this is a short worth watching.