Filmmaker Michael Slavens offers a unique take on denial, grief and sadness in this dark comedy, anchored in superb performances and a comedic gag that offers a fresh metaphor for inner turmoil and distress.
Stan’s wife has passed away, but instead of facing his grief and the end of a warm, loving marriage, he goes about life as if nothing has happened.
“I’m good,” he tells friends and family.
But a 20-piece punk marching band soon enters Stan’s world, filling it with non-stop song.
Eventually Stan hits his breaking point with the non-stop musical chaos — and discover the only way out of his nightmare is to face it.
“What Cheers?” is anchored by a deft performance by character actor Richard Kind, who hits both the comedic beats as well as the raw emotion called for by this dramedy.
The main premise of the film is on the surreal side, but the emotional reality of Stan is undeniably real: grief is difficult emotion we all wrestle with sooner or later, and a significant loss can be a before-and-after line in people’s lives.
But “What Cheer?” offers not only an entertaining take on the process of grappling with grief, but hope that we all can find our way out of darkness with a little courage and acceptance.