Watch Kids' Reviews of
LEAN

What to know: A charming short film that is well shot and delivers a poignant message.
LEAN is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 8-18
7.5 minutes
DVD
OLIVE RANCH ROAD PRODUCTOINS
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LEAN cover image
Kevin O'Neill's "Lean" is a good lesson to be taught. For the majority of the film the lesson is taught well, as Kevin's direction is more show than tell. Until the very end. An older man goes onto his front porch and reminisces on the day he fell in love with a young white girl. It is older times so the white girl's mother takes her away from him, ruining their perfect day. After the flashback is over, the man goes back inside and holds hands with his wife-presumably the girl from his flashback. And, you can tell by where they live, their love may still not be accepted. They live in what looks like a secluded log cabin out in the country, away from immediate society. They seem to be isolating themselves. I enjoyed the black and white cinematography. I enjoyed it more than usual, knowing he used it to further push color neutrality rather than using it for the sake of using it, or to show the setting was older. The acting was very good by the younger actors, especially since this was a silent film. I appreciate young actors who can do so much emotionally with just their eyes and faces. The score is the guide on the whole journey though. It takes you from beginning to end and keeps your interest. I found that Kevin's pacing went along very well with the music, therefore investing our attention. But, the wonderful first two-thirds of the film is bogged down a little by the end. The ending says, "Children do not see race...love does not see color." Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic message...but we already got that. The ending high angle slow zoom out as we see the older interracial couple would have been fine. There wasn't any need for the spoon feeding at the end. I also found myself asking "why"? Why in that moment, on that day, did the man choose to remember that time? Was it the couple's anniversary? Is she dying? Is he dying? Why did he go out on that porch and live back that life changing day? I would have loved the writing to have addressed that somehow. Lastly, I feel the day itself wasn't emotionally strong enough. They play, she reads to him, she gives him a gift (which is very significant), and then the mom comes. But I felt there was something missing. Perhaps something stronger like a kiss. Or maybe even a montage of their relationship over a period of weeks, because If it weren't for the chemistry the actors' have, I'm afraid the very meat of the film wouldn't have worked. That is why I give this film, 3 out of 5 stars; and I recommend it for anyone 8 and up.
This is a charming short film that is well shot and delivers a poignant message.
An older African American man looks back on the traumatic event that changed his life.
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