Movie Short Review: ‘Roy’

Greetings again from the darkness. Loneliness in old age is one of the saddest states we encounter. As lifelong friends, loved ones, and partners die off, many are left to a daily life of solitude … desiring even the most basic human interactions that were once plentiful and often taken for granted. This 15-minute short is the first film from Tom Berkeley and Ross White, the co-writers and co-directors.

Veteran actor David Bradley (Argus Filch in the ‘Harry Potter’ films) stars as Roy, an elderly gent whom we first see while he’s seated in his favorite chair, phone book in his lap, and old school push-button phone (landline) in his hand. “I think I missed a call from this number”, Roy says as his call is answered. It’s the opening line in what must be considered the saddest prank call of all-time. See, Roy is so desperate for human interaction that he takes to calling numbers randomly chosen from the phone book … itself a relic of the past.

A stream of hang-ups ends when Cara answers (voiced by Rachel Shelton, an Oscar winner for her short film THE SILENT CHILD, 2017). Double-entendres fill the conversation until Roy finally realizes he has accidentally dialed a phone-sex line. What follows is a heart-warming human connection with friendly conversation, board games, cooking lessons, and an exchange of generational musical tastes.

Cara’s phone efforts lift Roy’s spirits and inspire him to re-join society. Her efforts are commendable … and then the story takes a sharp turn that leaves Roy stunned and reverting to his sad, lonely self. The filmmakers and Mr. Bradley expertly capture the realities of loneliness and isolation for those whose life is no longer what it once was. But, ahh … that final ring of the phone!

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