With the public health emergency triggered by COVID-19 set to wind down within this next month, at least legally, it's safe to say that I've seen a myriad of different takes on the life-changing and isolative lockdowns that dominated life in the U.S. and beyond since early 2020. However, I'm not sure I've seen a take as uniquely inspired as writer/director Alex Ramirez's wondrous short film A Life in Technicolor.
Natalie, played to perfection by Josey Porras, is a longtime movie lover who has always found solace in immersing herself in the worlds of Dorothy and Toto, Buster Keaton, the Little Tramp, and a host of others. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, she rather joyfully locks herself down with her cinematic BFFs. However, as time goes on Natalie finds herself isolated in an increasingly silent and gray world and the movies that have always entertained her dazzlingly become her lifeline to a world of color, life, and human connection.
It's difficult to explain the wonder that is A Life in Technicolor without giving it away and, well, that's the last thing I want to do here. Suffice it to say that if I were to create a list of my favorite pandemic-themed films there's simply no doubt that A Life in Technicolor would be near the top with its emotional honesty, brilliant insights, touching fluidity, and a performance by Josey Porras that simply dazzles from beginning to end.
A Life in Technicolor is a reminder that sometimes dialogue gets in the way of a film's true message and Ramirez is smart enough to know how to bring this story to life through the power of imagery, sound, physical acting, and a narrative arc that captures what the pandemic was like for so many but refuses to surrender to it all. With an absolute bare minimum of dialogue, A Life in Technicolor soars on the strength of the kind of performance from Porras that should have Hollywood knocking on her door.
Lensing by Alex Walker is exceptional throughout and original music by Christian Manck and Ryley Hall is nothing short of sublime.
Quite simply, I loved every moment of A Life in Technicolor including Porras's enthralling performance.
A Life in Technicolor captures the playfulness and sense of wonder so often found in a Pixar animated flick, however, Ramirez also nails the richly human core that also allows Pixar to rise above nearly every other animation studio. While Porras's Natalie is most certainly live-action, her vibrance is so alive that she practically feels animated in a fairytale sort of way.
The word "lovely" is not a word I use often in my reviews, but A Life in Technicolor is truly a lovely film.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic