I’m not sure if many of you know this, but I love heartfelt movies with messages that resonate. When I go on Netflix, or even Hulu, I look for movies with a great message, but at the same time, it must be filmed skillfully.
When I was awarded a special opportunity to view “Bent” in the confines of my own home, I was overjoyed. I am an ardent fan of Amy Jo Johnson’s career and wanted to see her directorial debut. After watching this movie, twice, I can attest that anyone who funded her IndieGoGo project definitely got their money’s worth.
“Bent” is a heartfelt, short, film with meaningful dialogue, touching scenes, and a humorous ending that sticks in your head long after the movie is over.
This short film is based off Amy Jo’s feature length script “Crazier Than You”, which portrays a woman’s battle with terminal cancer, decade long-stint in a religious cult, and her painful relationship with her wandering husband. “Bent” picks up 30 years later, when the two girls from the film grow up and face their own demons.
The main protagonists, Amelia and Jackie, played by Amy Jo Johnson and Sonya Solomaa, reunite on the anniversary of Amelia’s mother’s death. You would think based on reading this that both women wept, shed lugubrious tears, and shared melancholy tales after reading the aforementioned description but this is a dramedy, after all. Both women drank, danced and cracked jokes at the cemetery.
I love how realistic this was! When people grieve, we also make jokes to lighten the mood and to bring everyone together. What I also really liked about this film was the music featured by Amy Jo Johnson from her newest album Never Broken, and from Miranda Lee Richards. The music from the movie embraced penultimate scenes from the film and highlighted the raw humor, and sadness that both characters had from their own hardships in life.
Based on witty dialogue, the viewer learns how being a part of a cult at a young age can shape not only their own opinions of themselves but others opinions of them. For instance, one of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Jackie (Sonya Solomaa) had a realistic encounter with a frenemy at the beginning of the film.
While Jackie was walking down to the road, hitching a ride to get to the cemetery, she was stopped by an upper middle class acquaintance who openly laughed at her for her past, having a child in her late thirties and anything else she could think of. Jackie wore a smile on her face, kept her chin up the whole time, and never countered her back. I really liked how there is a film out there where the protagonist takes the high road by ignoring the negativity. That scene truly resonated with me since you see the character’s past stills residues into her present.
Another favorite scene from the movie is when Amelia (Amy Jo Johnson) starts screaming and yelling, randomly, in the cemetery as a way to cope with the loss of her mom. Even though Amelia is a successful lawyer, and from first appearance, the viewer may speculate that the character wouldn’t be free spirited, there is more to her character than meets the eye.
Amelia is bubbly, happy, and candid with her best friend of x many years. Both characters live starkly different lives but still bond over their shared past in being brought up in a religious cult. The colorful dialogue, jovial scenes, and beautiful setting makes this film a gem that must be unearthed.
I would love to share with you my last favorite scene, which is the end, but I don’t want to spoil the movie for you. The end is the best part and you will see why when the film comes out on Youtube.
Amy Jo Johnson, the brain child behind this wonderful film, is a successful writer/ director and actress but she is also a highly acclaimed singer and songwriter. She previously released her third album, Never Broken, which entails her personal journey and about the trials and tribulations she had to face in her life.
Please, please, please watch “Bent” and share this movie with all of your friends! It’s made for lifelong female friends who have enduring bonds that could never be broken with time or space.