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Film Reviews Open Your Eyes Film News And Views - Film Reviews - Open Your Eyes Film Reviews,,Open Your Eyes,recommendation,shopping,advice,simple,movies,films,film news and views,news and views,film industy,movie reviews,film news,film,news,views,television,made for tv movies,interactive entertainment,hollywood,hollywood news,celebrity news,insiders perspective,film reviewer,watch film,film trailer,new releases,new release,new release movie,new release film,movie reviewer,opinion,viewpoint,forum,discussion
Open Your Eyes

by Erik Sean McGiven on Apr 04, 2009

 

"Open Your Eyes" is a journey of self-discovery for Julia, a young woman (Traci Dinwiddle) as she struggles and comes to terms with her life and marriage after breast cancer.  This short film explores the complex relationship women have with their bodies and what happens when a part of their femininity and sexuality is suddenly taken away.

Life threw Julia a crew ball, one she never expected -- breast cancer.  It all comes to a head when Julia attends a friend's bridal shower and wanting desperately to escape the clamor of other women, she hides out in the bathroom.  It's a moment of reflection as she looks in the mirror.  Soon questions, appraisals, and regrets surface in her mind and we sense that something is dreadfully wrong.  Suddenly a stranger intrudes on her sanctuary and Julia finds herself locked in the bathroom with Kat (Suzy Nakamura), the frank-talking sister of the bride-to-be. 

The story is told in a manner that resembles the memories we recall in our head.  And the real crux of the story unfolds in flashbacks as Julia remembers past events, the mammogram exam, the day of the surgery, and the effects of chemotherapy.  We see the real soul of this woman and these memories truly express her lose her departure from being a woman.  Yet it is the candor and humor of Kat that help Julia gain the courage to confront her future and realize that she is still whole.

The film is an emotional journey allowing entry into the mind and heart of a breast cancer survivor.  The story relies on compelling images, non-verbal actions to fully relate a reluctant acceptance of one's fate.  It's a beautifully constructed tale that begins with misery and ends with finding she's still a woman, loved and adored.  It's not what you lose.  It's what you find.

A lot of thought went into producing this film and the creative qualities rival the best of big budget films.  Traci Dinwiddle's ("The Notebook," "Mr. Brooks") portrayal of Julie is a stellar performance played with subtle nuances that gradually pull us into her dilemma and feeling her pain.  It's a role where vulnerabilities must be balanced against her fortitude and anger.  This is done with the expertise of a real pro.  As Katherine, Suzy Nakamura ("West Wing," "Curb Your Enthusiasm") is the catalyst that clarifies Julia's turmoil and helps her confront her future.  Nakamura's candid performance lends the perfect counterpoint to Julia's morbid outlook.  Eric Lange's "Kevin" nicely fills the role of the understanding husband and yet tactfully conveys the frustrations of a deteriorating marriage.    Teresa Haung's role as "Deborah," the bubbling naive bride-to-be, provides the contrast to Julia's fading sexuality.  Their scene skillfully compares Julia's lose against Deborah's marital expectations. 

Production values are first rate, especially choices of locations, makeup, and photography.  Susan Cohen's writing and direction are fastidiously cohesive and bring this story to the screen with a discerning delicate touch, a touch that uses every aspect of solid filmmaking. Remaining production credits are superb and it's easy to see why this film is and will be one that wins numerous awards.

CREDITS: "Open Your Eyes" stars Traci Dinwiddle, Suzy Nakamura, Eric Lange and Teresa Huang.  Written and Directed by Susan Cohen; Director of Photography Stephanie Martin; Casting by Monika Mikkelsen; Edited by Steven Ansell; Music by Wolfram de Marco and Leslie Stevens; Produced by David Newsom, Amy Sommer and Alisa Wiegers, Executive Producers Mark Goodstein, Erick Herring, and John Stein. 

AFI's Directing Workshop for Women presents a 6 [ft] 1 Production. Running Time: 15 Minutes

  August 22, 2017

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