The Gesture and the Word

By Helen Alexis Yonov | Romance
A florist gives her postman a flower every day. But he's too shy to date.

Gilbert is a lonely postman whose only friends are the people on his route. There’s Mr. Rostall, a blind widower and retired poet and professor. There’s Aurore, who gets postcards from her boyfriend Eric as he travels around the world. And then there is Eloise, a lovely florist in the neighborhood who gives Gilbert a flower for his jacket every day, along with a lesson in the symbolism in each bloom and a hopeful sign of her affections.

When Aurore suddenly stops receiving postcards from Eric, Gilbert secretly begins to recreate them, recruiting Mr. Rostalle, who believes he’s helping Gilbert express his growing feelings for Eloise. But the effort has unintended consequences, and Gilbert must deal with his fears and inability to express himself with Eloise.

Written and directed by Helen Alexis Yonov, this winsome romantic short delights with its unabashed sincerity and sweetness, weaving together an ambitious set of narrative elements into an unexpectedly wise lesson in courage, love and self-belief.

The film takes its time in developing its cast of characters and the self-closed yet sunlit corner of the world they live in. The visuals are a mix of California and Paris, with radiant colors and cinematography and a vintage-chic sense of place and design. Within this charming, cheerful world, Gilbert goes about his delivery route, the plot ambling at his sturdy, unassuming pace. We meet all the inhabitants of his community, each with their own stories.

The writing has many elements to juggle and it takes time to establish them, but it excels in exploring these pockets of stories beyond Gilbert, whether evoking Eric and Aurore’s exotic, long-distance romance in a sweet little narrative detour or Mr. Rostalle’s moving remembrances of the wife he long loved and then lost. These all surround Gilbert in a tapestry of the different stages and types of love, but it also makes clear that he has no romance to call his own.

The film features a performance by actor James Michael Tyler, known widely to audiences for his role as Gunther on “Friends” and who recently passed away from cancer. Inhibited characters can be difficult to portray onscreen because their fears keep them from action, but Tyler beautifully portrays Gilbert’s deep well of sensitivity underneath his surface reticence and shyness. His interactions with his friends on his route reveal warmth and solicitousness, as well as his hunger for affection and connection.

This loneliness likely propels him to intervene when Aurore stops receiving postcards from Eric, and Gilbert decides to compose some postcards in Eric’s absence, making them seem as if they’re coming from Eric. It’s a sweet gesture, but it has unexpected consequences — all of which force Gilbert to come face-to-face with his true feelings, but also the deep sense of inadequacy that keeps him from acting on them.

It would be easy to sum up the lesson of “The Gesture and the Word” as paying attention to the little things in life. But the real wisdom in the story — delivered with a lightness that belies its emotional richness, with a heart-warming ending all the more poignant for Tyler’s passing — is its observations on how love requires personal courage. It often forces us to grow in ways that will expand us, if only we summon the bravery to confront our fears. In doing so, love truly blooms, based on a foundation of our own self-worth.

You Might Also Like:


By Candice Carella | Drama
A single mother leaves her young daughter with a rock musician uncle.


By Marianne Farley | Drama
A woman goes to an illegal abortion clinic, following the adoption of an anti-abortion law.

A La Cara

By Javier Marco | Drama
A famous reporter confronts a man for insulting her on Twitter.


By David Bartlett | Drama
A young Roma girl is discovered by Nazis as they cleanse the streets of 'undesirables'.


By Mark Rosenblatt | Drama
A little girl thinks she sees a family cleaner steal a precious ornament. Then it escalates.


By Scott Aharoni and Dennis Latos | Drama
A father keeps a painful secret from his daughter during COVID -- but risks losing her.

Free Fall

By Emmanuel Tenenbaum | Drama
A young trader jumps into the biggest trade of his life amid the September 11 attacks.


By Ben Tricklebank | Drama
A 14-year-old is expected to be a man. But he doesn't want to grow up that way.

The Recordist

By Indianna Bell and Josiah Allen | Drama
A young actress has an affair with the director. The sound recordist blackmails her.


By Miles Warren | Drama
A young boy explores his manhood after his father fights at a bowling alley.


By Richard Prendergast | Drama
A single mother takes her family on a road trip. But it's to an unwanted destination.

Second Best

By Alyssa McClelland | Comedy
Twin sisters turn into rivals when one's gymnastics career steals the spotlight.

No More Wings

By Abraham Adeyemi | Drama
2 friends meet at their favorite fried chicken shop. But their lives have diverged.


By Gokalp Gonen | Animation
A man is trapped on a spaceship after his robot overseer finds every planet uninhabitable.

Feeling Through (Oscars)

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man who changes his life forever...

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.