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The Independent Critic

Directed by
Ian Barnes
Written by
Tom Bidwell
Samuel Peter Holland, Jodie Whittaker, Jim Carter, Dean Andrews, Oliver Arundale
Running Time
24 Mins.

 "Wish 143" Review 
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Everything that felt rushed and forced in 2011 fellow Oscar nominated short The Crush is played to near perfection in this British 24-minute short written by Tom Bidwell and directed by Ian Barnes about David (Samuel Peter Holland), a terminally ill teenager who finds himself being offered a "wish" - Perhaps to meet his favorite athlete or a vacation to his favorite place, you know?

The problem is that David's only real wish may be impossible - David wants to lose his virginity before it's too late. David tries running a newspaper ad, but it doesn't quite have the desired impact. Then, suddenly, a friendly and stunningly unconventional hospital chaplain (Jim Carter) befriends him and the beautiful, sympathetic Maggie (Jodie Whittaker) walks into his life.

Might David's wish come true?

Winner of the Audience Award at the Palm Springs ShortsFest 2010 and of Best Short Film at the British Independent Film Festival, Wish 143 exudes life, hope and desire intertwined with its underlying subject matter involving this terminally ill young man who at least wants to experience some semblance of growing up and feeling loved. Tom Bidwell's script is intelligent and nothing short of remarkable, possessing dialogue of tremendous authenticity and tenderness.

It helps, of course, that Samuel Peter Holland is simply marvelous as young David, embodying the man as both achingly vulnerable and fiercely strong. David's growing friendship with the chaplain, well played by Jim Carter, feels like a hilarious dance of male bonding. However, it's when Holland and the lovely Jodie Whittaker are onscreen that one's heart begins to melt and Wish 143 becomes one of 2010's best live-action shorts. Whittaker, who audiences may remember from the Peter O'Toole film Venus, is an astounding figure who turns this journey of sensuality and intimacy into far more than a simple old sympathy fuck. Indeed, the "wish" that unfolds is far more powerful than one could imagine.

Camera work by Steve Buckland is stellar, and the original music by Nick Green and Tristin Norwell complements the film quite perfectly through scenes both emotionally naked and darkly funny. Ian Barnes directs the film with the perfect blend of dark humor, rich humanity and vulnerability. The end result is a film that simply must be considered one of the early favorites for the 2011 Best Live Action Short Academy Award.