19th Mar2020

‘Faulty Roots’ Short Film Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Ella Greenwood, Sani Thabo, Sarah Greenwood | Written and Directed by Ella Greenwood


Written, directed and produced by 18 year old Ella Greenwood who, by the way, also plays the part of Lola here, Faulty Roots joins in the conversation regarding mental health and the prejudices that surround that segment of life. Lola suffers from depression and her Mum, Susan, played by Sarah Eastwood, arranges for her, against her wishes, to spend some time with Zack, a boy she hasn’t seen in many years. Zack is played by Sani Thabo, and has a genetic condition with no known cure. Their conversation surrounds Lola’s unwillingness to grab life and make the most out of it, which offends Lola, and she walks away.

The way the short 11 minute film opens a dialogue about such a deep and complex issue is quite astounding, with Lola being upset by her feelings that Zack doesn’t understand her or the things she is going through emotionally in her life. This hangs alongside the fact that Lola herself is unable to understand Zack’s problems and the way his condition may alter his thinking towards those who perhaps take certain things for granted.

Greenwood plays Lola with a real depth of reality and feeling, bringing, in a very short time, the character and the ways in which she is feeling, to life. The story, as limited for time as it is, manages to portray something real and something awfully poignant. Life is difficult and fragile, and the characters of Zack and Lola are different sides of two separate coins, dealing with their own personal and medical difficulties. The performances are well done, the direction and camera work is slick and precise, and the story does a lot in a short space of time.

The thing that stands out to me too is Lola’s Mum, Sarah, and her flippant and shrugging response to Lola’s depression. This isn’t something that is always meant to be cruel, but it is something we encounter regularly in day-to-day life. As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, as well as medical problems, the way this was portrayed was very important. It wasn’t over-done or offensively bombastic, but instead remained calm and slight, showing how these moments of people writing off your emotional hardships can be painful and harmful, even if those who react that way aren’t intent on causing such a reaction.

A really strong and well thought-out insight into depression, into the ways we react to other people without perhaps taking their views or ideas into account, and of life when you’re young, Faulty Roots is a thoughtful and respectable short film from Ella Greenwood, and one that I feel should be seen by plenty of people.

**** 4/5


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