Monika Petrillo’s new short film, WINK, is a poignant slice of life, but it’s also giddy, wicked fun! When we meet Melanie, she seems to be living her own quiet life of desperation in an idyllic, suburban town. Perfect house, perfect husband, perfect 16 bed pillows from William Sonoma. But, as they say, you are never more alone than when you are alone in a relationship.
In the first moments of the film, as Melanie cleans and puts socks in color coordinated order, it is a glimpse at what it looks like when a person isn’t seen by their partner. What it does to their soul. Petrillo’s direction breathes and it is quiet. She’s not afraid of the silence. Through that silence, we sense the pain.
Michael Chandler is spot-on as the handsome, outwardly perfect husband, Gerald, who is too busy to notice that his wife is, well, no longer his wife. Chandler pulls this off without making him unlikeable. He allows us to see why Melanie loves him, why she’s still there.
Caitlin Brandes is revelatory as the sweet and unassuming housewife, Melanie. Her performance is so beautifully nuanced that every look of disappointment and resignation is pointedly felt. When her light is finally switched on, she illuminates the screen with her sensuality. The transformation is shocking, especially to Gerald; the look on Chandler’s face is priceless. And for Melanie? Looks like it’s a brand new day.
The film is grand scale beauty in a small, curated package; from the agile direction, to the enviable sets and gorgeous cinematography; has twilight ever looked so warm and sexy? Add to that a perfect cast and Petrillo has given us something we could all use a bit more of; a moment of pure joy.
WINK is written and directed by Monika Petrillo and produced by James Baumgartner.
www.monikapetrillo.com/wink Facebook & Instagram @winkshortfilm