The Last Butterflies (2023) 

Set in the near future, a mother and her young child must find their way to a place where they can survive following environmental events that have led to a near apocalypse.  

Written by Whitney Wegman-Wood and directed by Patrick Rea, this apocalypse times dramatic short film makes the most of its less than 30 minutes. The story here is careful and emotional, written not simply to create a fear element to it all, but also mixing some hope and some despair. There are layers to the story here, it’s more than the usual fear-based story of this type, there is a family element, a love and care element, worry, stress, sadness, and a lot of other things. The film here is more about the emotions of the situation than the situation itself.  

The cast here is led by writer Whitney Wegman-Wood as the mom, supported by Cooper Andrews as the dad, with Ivy Hickman as their child. They are a family unit that is cohesive, showing love and care and worry for each other. Their central roles here make the story work, so the performances for these parts are central to the film. Whitney Wegman-Wood gets a lot more screentime and her performance is solid, leading the film with care and tenderness as needed for the part. Her work here is what the film relies on, and she does it fantastically well. Cooper Andrews (who will look more familiar) gets a bit less screen time, but he definitely makes the most of it. Young Ivy Hickman is lovely to watch, making adorable and curious a part of her apocalypse story, showing the innocence of childhood remains as long as it is nurtured.  

The film’s technical aspects are good here with gloomy cinematography by Taylor Snyder supported by emotional music by Ben Adams and Bobby Brader. The film comes together with the story, images, and sounds in a way that brings the viewer in and makes them want to see what happens to the characters, where they are going, and if that little bit of hope that is developed here and there might just save them from getting emotional along with the film. 

The Last Butterflies is an effective near apocalypse film what shows a different side of humanity than what is usually shown in films. It’s more emotional and packs a wallop of an ending. The writing and directing are solid and the performances are just right for the characters at hand. It’s a solid piece of filmmaking made to make you think and maybe get a little emotional.