Omeleto

Head Above Water

By Eric Shahinian | Drama
A devoted husband is forced to confront his doubts about remaining the caretaker of his Alzheimer's-suffering wife.

Leonard is a devoted husband to his wife Elsie, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Though both are elderly, they live together in their family home, awaiting the arrival of the rest of their family for dinner. But Leonard himself has a fall, and he soon realizes the limits of their situation and his ability to remain his wife’s caretaker.

Writer-director Eric Shahinian, along with co-writer Maya Huang, is a portrait of devotion, marriage and the devastating realities of a disease that has striken an estimated 5.7 million Americans in 2018, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

The story’s scope is pared down, taking place in one setting and a limited timeframe. But it captures a key turning point for one husband, who must rethink what it means to stay with someone “in sickness and in health.”

The construction of the narrative is solid, with each beat building on each other and raising both character development and dramatic tension. The camerawork is warm in tone, capturing the sense of domesticity and home that Leonard and Elsie live and want to stay together within.

But ultimately the strength of the short rests of its intimate, warmly human performances, particularly by Chiz Schultz and Eileen Miller, who play the couple at the film’s center. Through the acting, they capture the dance of love, frustration and ultimately fear that arises when Leonard discovers he may not able to be there all the time, in the way that Elsie needs.

“Head Above Water” is a quietly heartbreaking film that turns its lens on the toll that caretaking can have upon those who devote their time and lives to caring for those with Alzheimer’s, which can be frustrating and anxious. Beautifully made and ultimately moving, the film ultimately honors the everyday heroism of caretakers, even as it illustrates one man’s realization of its limits.





You Might Also Like:

Mordechai

By Benjamin Bee | Drama
An ultra-orthodox Jew hasn't seen his identical twin brother in years. But today is the day of their father's funeral.

Retouch

By Kaveh Mazaheri | Drama
Her husband has an accident at home... and she just watches him die.

Stealing Silver ft. Maisie Williams

By Mark Lobatto | Drama
A woman confronts a painful time in her life after discovering the truth about a mysterious old man living across from her.

Joseph’s Reel

By Michael Lavers | Romance
An elderly man, upon dying, is given the opportunity to relive one day of his life.

Cradle

By Devon Manney | Animation
Returning to the U.S. after losing both arms, a veteran battles phantom pains, prosthetics and memories of his pre-war life.

Hold On

By Charlotte Scott-Wilson | Drama
A young cellist develops stage fright after one of her cello strings comes lose during an important performance.

Don’t Be a Hero

By Pete Lee | Drama
A middle-aged woman battles her loneliness and boredom by robbing banks in the guise of a cowboy on her lunch break.

Our Kind of Love

By Elham Ehsas and Azeem Bhati | Romance
An Afghan village girl goes on her first date in London.

Lost and Found

By Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe | Animation
A clumsy crochet dinosaur must unravel itself to save the love of its life.

Edmund the Magnificent ft. David Bradley & Ian McKellen

By Ben Ockrent | Comedy
A once-legendary farmer takes a chance and invests his life savings in a thoroughbred piglet.

Reception

By Joe Gillette | Romance
Two strangers, trying to avoid the crowd at a wedding reception, end up making an unexpected connection.

Exit Strategy

By Travis Bible | Sci-Fi
A man in a time loop must work with his brother to prevent a catastrophic fire.

Garfield

By Georgi Bank-Davies | Romance
A young woman wakes up in a strange place, with a strange guy. Then, she start to piece together how she got there.

Partners

By Joey Ally | Romance
A couple's love life begins to slump, forcing them to reconsider the relationship and confront how intertwined they've become.

Balance

By Mark Ram | Drama
Two friends climb a mountain, connected by a rope. But when one falls, the other's life hangs in an unstable balance.


Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening. That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.