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Placebo

Reviewing a two-minute movie is bound to be tricky, but let's see what I can manage. A young woman (Aileigh Karson) has gone to a plastic surgeon for a consultation. This isn't because she's not attractive -- she's a pretty, girl next door blonde with a nice smile -- but because she desperately wants to look like her favorite actress, glamorous brunette Ms. Carmichael (Maura Stephens). It's a radical change, but the surgeon (Jennifer Trudrung) takes on the challenge and sets to work.

But the real question, which the movie explores with remarkable effectiveness given its short time frame, is whether or not this surgery, even if entirely successful, will be able to give the patient what she really wants. It's easy to believe that if we were only prettier, younger, thinner, or whatever, that our lives would suddenly and permanently change for the better, but the fact is that even the most drastic alterations don't generally have the effect that we hope. This patient, though, is convinced that this is exactly what she needs.

It must have been a great acting challenge -- the women you see don't speak, and the woman who has lines is never visible. But all three actors do a wonderful job, with each closeup worth a thousand words. The cinematography is excellent -- a movie this length can't afford to waste a single shot, and it doesn't -- and though some of the images are slightly gruesome they drive the point home beautifully. And it's a valuable lesson: However perfect the outside might be, it's what's inside that we truly need to be comfortable with.

Image: 
What our patient dreams of becoming.

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