Movie Short Review: ‘Missing A Note’

Review by David Ferguson

Greetings again from the darkness. Young Molly is a bundle of nerves. Her mom smiles, and tries to be reassuring and a calming influence. When they arrive at their destination, the stately mansion is intimidating and only increases Molly’s anxiety.

The young girl is here to sing for John, a retired Opera legend, in hopes that he will provide a glowing scholarship report/letter of recommendation. Offering up one final pep talk is Angie, John’s wife of 50 years, herself a former dancer. Life lessons come at Molly pretty quickly here, as her initial disappointment turns into surprise, and a glimpse at what accompanies old age. Angie is working hard to protect her lifelong love from the slow descent caused by dementia, while Molly learns one of life’s harsh realities – we don’t always know what others are going through.

This is writer-director Beth Moran’s first film, and it’s a 15 minute emotional powerhouse. Ms. Moran was the youngest female pilot to fly with the (USAF) Thunderbirds, and her next project is the just released documentary EVERYBODY FLIES; a film that examines the air we breathe on airplanes. The cast here is exceptional. Ian McElhinney plays John. Mr. McElhinney has an almost 40 year screen career, appearing in such ‘minor’ projects as ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, and “Game of Thrones.” Elaine Page plays John’s wife Angie, and Ms. Page is best known for her musical stage work. Newcomer Darcy Jacobs plays Molly, and shows some nice range for a young actor.

Ms. Moran’s short film played before some screenings of the DOWNTON ABBEY movie in the U.K., so it’s already had better exposure than most shorts ever get. The film’s message of how dementia impacts more than just the afflicted person is quite a gut-punch and lesson for us all.

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