Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

"Real finds humour and warmth in socially awkward situations anyone can relate to."

Interacting with strangers, getting to know people, navigating new romantic relationships – all these things can be challenging. We need to make decisions and take actions based on what we think other people are thinking, on what we think is real. Now imagine doing this when you can, at best, understand only 45% of what’s being said.

Lauren is a confident, outgoing young woman, but her social relationships can be complicated. Because she’s Deaf and depends on lip reading to get by in the company of people who haven’t learned to sign, she has to try and figure a lot of things out from context. Sometimes this goes very wrong indeed. This short film presents a couple of scenarios in which a lip reading error can have significant consequences. It’s bittersweet, but Lauren sees the funny side.

With dry delivery and great comic timing, Real finds humour and warmth in socially awkward situations anyone can relate to. There’s a serious side to it, however, given how clear it is that Lauren is expected to do all the extra work to communicate in situations where other people really could make more of an effort, or at least cut her a bit of slack. Maria Forsythe’s witty short points up the absurdity inherent not just in miscommunication, but in society’s willingness to keep on letting it happen and hearing people’s odd belief that it’s not their problem.

Real screened as part of the 2021 Scottish Queer International Film Festival.

Reviewed on: 13 Oct 2021
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A tiny film webseries exploring Deafness, love, and the lengths we go to find it. This tiny film follows Lauren as she navigates relationships and connection in a world of complex communication.

Director: Maria Forsythe

Writer: Michelle Mary Schaefer

Year: 2020

Runtime: 3 minutes

Country: US


SQIFF 2021

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