Kaitlyn Johnston, Jillian Mason, Bella Moscato, Tyler Lemire, Kitty Robertson, Patrick Duarte
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Jesse Binger & Kaitlyn Johnston
Co-writers/directors Jesse Binger and Kaitlyn Johnston are back with their latest collaboration and it may very well be their best one yet, the emotionally raw and jarring short film Blue Violet. Having premiered at the Soho International Film Festival, Blue Violet won Best Drama Short at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards and was nominated for Best Long Island film at the Long Island International Film Expo. The film also has a screening coming up at the Ballston Spa Film Festival.
In the film, Johnston plays Steph, a young woman a long way away from home contemplating her own life choices as a friend gets ready for a night on the town. Having learned that life isn't always so simple and every decision chooses our path, Steph comes face-to-face with a moment faced by many - What if we could have a second chance?
While the approach to the sensitive topic that comes alive in Blue Violet may prove challenging for some, the film's focus on Steph's own personal experience and her emotionally honest and thoughtful reflections should help to overcome those concerns. It helps to have an actress the caliber of Kaitlyn Johnston in the lead role as she embodies Steph with such a remarkable vulnerability and woundedness that one forgets about political correctness and agendas and just feels deeply for this young woman. It's a remarkable performance from an actress who seems to get better with each outing.
While the film, if we're being honest, very much belongs to Johnston, Jillian Mason gives a fine supporting performance with some foreshadowing that is unsettling yet authentic and feels incredibly real.
Steve Pitre's lensing is uncomfortably intimate, as it should be, and the film's use of lighting amps up the overall emotional impact of everything that unfolds. The music from Monica Rodriguez is an absolutely spot-on companion for the film.
Kudos must be given to both Binger and Johnston for their collaborative efforts in both writing and directing a film that could have so easily felt exploitative yet never actually crosses that line. While it is possible to explore, and maybe even disagree with, the deeper messages within the film, Blue Violet is an honest, thought-provoking film that will have audiences talking long after the closing credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic