Pushed by her complicated child, a mother at wits end turns an uncanny situation into an unconventional teaching moment for her son in this short from SotW alum Jason Jeffrey. In A Teachable Moment, writer/director/editor Jeffrey delights us once more with his distinct brand of comedy (previously seen in Clown Face and Bonfire) and through sharp dialogue alongside hilarious, yet convincing performances, he makes this darkly absurd premise quite believable.
Opening with a heist, a man with a bag of money and a bullet hole in his gut is on the getaway. Losing blood he pulls over to the side of the road. Bleeding out in a field, he is visited by the prospect of slavation—a woman and her son from the neighborhood pull up to check on him. She has good intentions, just not the intentions you may be expecting.
A few years back, young filmmakers Jeffrey and Grace Glowicki (lead actress) wanted to create a short film, with complete creative freedom, that would showcase their talent and could potentially become a calling card. Using their savings, they funded this film and assembled a team of close collaborators celebrated in the Toronto filmmaking scene, including Kristy Neville as a producer and Ben Petrie as a first AD.
The gambit paid off, as a Teachable Moment is a fun showcase for the pair’s sensibilities. The crisp screenplay can only work when delivered perfectly, and Ash Catherwood and Glowicki bring Jeffrey’s words to the screen with flawless performances. Despite the dire predicament of his character, Catherwood’s Henry looks true and as authentic as a troubled man with a shady mysterious backstory. Glowicki is officially a star however, and builds upon her breakout performance in Petrie’s Her Friend Adam which, in 2016, won the Jury Award for Outstanding Performance at Sundance. With her layered performance, Glowicki gracefully combines a concerned mother with a cold sociopath, without having to change beats—a cheery nonchalance that’s simultaneously terrifying and brutally funny. Watching her bring to life remorselessness alongside pragmatism is an accomplishment, and quite entertaining.
Jeffrey’s voice shines again as well in the script, using a dramatic setting for comedic purposes with his signature sense of irony. The film is essentially a single joke, but through subtle stretching of the premise to its blunt conclusion, it doesn’t outstay its welcome. While we wish the film got to its core encounter a bit quicker, the film’s sharp editing and score magnify the hilarity of the situation once it gets going, and allows pack a quick punch and get out, leaving the audience constantly entertained.
A Teachable Moment premiered during the 2016 edition of Tribeca and went on to be distributed to television ahead of its online release. Jeffrey just finished writing a feature film that Wildling Pictures is currently securing funds for. Yet, we hope that he will still make more shorts, giving us our dark ironic humor fix.