Most people who know me know that in my early 20's, I lost a newborn daughter. What very few know about me is that about ten years ago or so, just as I was crossing the 40-year-old mark and beginning to realize that certain dreams were unlikely to be fulfilled including fatherhood, my partner at the time experienced a miscarriage.
She, to be honest, was relieved. Having only been out of a long-term marriage for not very long and already a mother of growing children, she was unprepared for the complications that a pregnancy would have brought with it.
I, on the other hand, was devastated. For me, it felt like my "last chance" to become the father I'd always wanted to be.
It wasn't long after the miscarriage that she and I, who remain friends, ended our relationship.
None of this has much to do with everything that unfolds in the rather remarkable short film A Bad Feeling, a film that was released into the festival circuit under the title The Phantom Menace and has now, been released online following the closing of its festival run.
The film centers around a couple, Karen (Lily Rabe, American Horror Story) and Jim (Eric Ladin, Bosch), who decided to go ahead with plans to attend a local comic-con only a day after Karen has had a miscarriage.
Written and directed by the husband-and-wife team of Sean Fallon and Charlotte Barrett, A Bad Feeling is one of those films that makes you smile even as it sort of sucker punches you with a combination of nostalgia meets melancholy sentimentality. From the moment that Rabe is onscreen, and she's truly magnificent here, you simply can't help but want to wrap your arms around her and stay with her in that wild, complex array of feelings she's experiencing. Rabe takes what could have been so easily played for nothing but laughs and brings it vividly to life, turning simple into sublime and making you feel everything with her with every word, every facial expression, and every nonverbal cue imaginable. It's an eerie good performance from an actress whose known for such performances in American Horror Story and other projects.
This is not to say that Eric Ladin's performance is any 98-pound weakling as Jim. Ladin has the difficult task of not demonizing a guy who seems to use detachment as a coping skill and who seems to genuinely believe a little bit of cosplay will make everything go away.
In case you're wondering, it doesn't.
Ladin's shift about midway through the film, when he realizes he really wants nothing more than to be alone with his wife in that very moment, is a subtle, masterful shift and Ladin pulls it off perfectly.
A Bad Feeling isn't a perfect short film, but it's a remarkably affecting and involving one that you'll definitely want to check out and you can do so from this very website. The beloved Robert Picardo makes a cameo here and A Bad Feeling is a film that will leave you wanting to experience more from this funny, sweet, and melancholy couple.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic