By Sean Garrity | Drama
A father learns his daughter is going blind. So he takes her to see the Rocky Mountains.

A young girl is losing her eyesight, and a visit to the ophthalmologist holds bad news for her: she will go blind completely in six months. It falls to her stoic, reserved father to tell her.

Yet, he can’t quite bring himself to tell her the bad news, due to the difficulty of the situation, the stunted nature of their relationship and his desire for her to regain her childlike optimism and hope in some way. So he decides to take her to see the Rocky Mountains — the most beautiful sight he’s ever seen — before she loses her sight altogether.

Written and directed by Sean Garrity, this short drama is an absorbing, thoughtful portrait of the love between a parent and child during a pivotal chapter of their lives, conveyed with elegant visuals and an immense restraint that proves all the more moving at the end.

The film is framed as the imagining of the story by an offscreen filmmaker, who tells us through voiceover what he plans to show and capture. As he talks, the images flow, making small changes sometimes as the filmmaker makes decisions and adjustments to the narrative.

In many cases, this kind of “meta presence” functions as ironic commentary. But here, it foregrounds key themes that will emerge throughout the film: how we envision moments in life will go versus their reality, and how the young girl will likely have to imagine the world around her once she goes blind. The format also allows viewers to traverse a much wider narrative scope than usual for a short film, and its superb writing offers rich glimpses into both father and daughter’s perspectives, creating an emotional intimacy that is both wide and deep.

For a film about blindness, the visuals are remarkably lovely and are crafted with discernment and thoughtfulness. They possess a muted, somewhat somber sense of color and an eye for unique, sometimes abstract framing as if refracting through all the different ways we can see the world and people around us.

Within this framework, the actors — Jade Aspros as the daughter and Anthony Ulc as the father — don’t perform as much as embody the shifting currents between the pair as they travel, though the actors are understated and precise as the voiceover narration and the visuals, whose beauty becomes all the more poignant as the young girl’s eyesight degrades, with sections of the picture going blurry and dark.

“Blind” ends in darkness, though the sounds of the mountainside setting fill in the gap of missing vision, as does the final voiceover, which details an encounter of the father and daughter coming together, in a scene that we don’t see as viewers. Nevertheless, we are still able to experience it, in all its heartfelt delicacy and vulnerability. And in the end, we receive the film’s remarkable emotional gift of capturing the poignancy of something lost and something gained: an emotional maturity for the girl, earned through the hard acceptance of what has happened with her, and a sense of connection for the father, who experiences a wellspring of emotion that he can express for the first time. The final beauty of the film is not of what we see, but what we feel, for both the characters and for viewers.

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