The Mess (2015) 7min · Short, Drama, Family · 1 January 2015
As we pan the dining room of a young couple, Lenny and Ellen, we see a cluttered dining room, including artwork from the only thing it seems they have in common anymore, their four-year-old son Ryan. It's dinnertime and when Lenny drops the news that Ryan's daycare leader was killed in a motorcycle crash, Ellen puts aside her grad school homework and war erupts, as he and Ellen battle over how the news should be handled in front of their son. Upset by his parents arguing, Ryan flings his spaghetti and storms away. Ellen, after taking one last opportunity to blame Lenny, goes to comfort her son. Lenny stays behind and sulks. After Ellen awkwardly tries to explain the concept of death to Ryan using the Disney princesses from Frozen as a parable, she herself freezes. When Lenny shows up to help, she ducks out. After distracting his son with a game, Lenny joins her back at the table. But Ellen is buried in her books and won't respond to Lenny's attempts to cheerfully brush aside their fight. Finally giving in, Ellen lets Lenny pull her close. But just as it seems the crisis has been averted, Lenny looks past her to their kid's artwork and sees for the first time that they are actually disguised love letters to his wife from the late (and clearly much-loved) daycare leader. Ryan calls from the other room as his father is realizing just how deeply this other man will be missed.
Director(s): Maura Anderson
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