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The Independent Critic

Written and Directed by
Ivette Garcia Davila
Angel Jimenez, Alexandra Barreto, John Poulos, Diana Carr
Running Time

 "Career Day" Review 
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Marco (Angel Jimenez) is a tenacious 8-year-old who secretly follows his mother to work in order to complete a Career Day essay. Much to his surprise, his mother is not the ER nurse that expected but a stripper at Candy Stripper, a local strip joint.

What could easily be turned into not much more than a cheap gimmick is so much more in the able and sure hands of Career Day writer/director Ivette Garcia Davila. Career Day is one of the true gems of the 2010 HollyShorts Film Festival, a film that expertly blends the realities of single parenting, the fragile bond between parent/child and the dilemmas a child faces as they grow up and realize that the parent they idolize is a vulnerable, complex human being.

Newcomer Angel Jimenez is a heartbreaking joy as young Marco, a young boy who clearly idolizes his mother but who struggles to accept her when he discovers the truth. As his mother, veteran actress Alexandra Barreto nicely intertwines both her maternal and survival instincts into a young woman who will do whatever it takes to provide for her son.  Supporting players John Poulos and Diana Carr are solid, providing emotional resonance to what are essentially transitional roles.

The camera work by Armando Salas is stark and gritty, yet displays a certain warmth that helps emphasize that this is a film about a mother and her son rather than a film about "my mom the stripper."

It is difficult within the framework of a short film to satisfy an audience emotionally and intellectually, but Career Day is that rare film that creates authentic dialogue, intriguing and well developed characters, an emotionally resonant scenario and, finally, a deeply felt and satisfying conclusion.

Currently on the film festival circuit, Career Day is a film to check out if you get the chance!