The Price of Bones (2016): Diet by Proxy (Review)

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Written and produced by Samantha Kolesnik, The Price of Bones is directed by Brandon Taylor and stars Lisa Dennett ,Summerisa Bell Stevens  and Jordan Anton. The film follows Caprice (Stevens) and Heather (Anton) as they both work to be so skinny that their bones show.  

The film opens with Caprice at home with her domineering mother (Dennett). The young woman does not eat the pancakes and scrambled eggs on offer  and after some pretty heavy bickering, puts the plate in the fridge.

This exchange reveals much about each person at the breakfast table.  Caprice and her mother are both experts at passive aggressive tactics and this war has been going on for some time. Witness the  state of that breakfast; eggs overcooked and pancakes that are flat in texture and  albino in colour. It was never meant to be eaten.

(Later in the film, at dinner, Caprice is served  a steak burnt black with a side of overdone vegetables. The battle continues.)

Caprice runs with her friend Heather and both girls seem obsessed with losing weight. They point out each other’s bones and Caprice makes a joke about everyone being able to see Heather’s.

This is a game, Heather is truly anorexic while Caprice only appears to be.

The Price of Bones is a skillful look at the real problem of anorexia and just how far sufferers will go to be “thin.”   The makeup shows clearly the health problems associated with this disease/disorder. Both the girls have bad complexions, circles under their eyes and “whitish” lips. Heather more than Caprice, it should be pointed out.

They are overly tired and Heather, at least, has self image problems as well.  In this relationship, she is  the weaker of the two.

Kolesnik and Taylor have presented a story within a story here.  There is much more going on than just a fight to be “skinny.” It is about power,  deception and being a predator.  Without giving too much away  just observe the final scenes of the film and all will be revealed.

This is a splendid bit of short cinema here.  On one level it focusses on things that are food related. There is a reference to Sylvia Plath (author of “The Bell Jar” ) who committed suicide by gassing herself in her kitchen oven. The scenes with the mother deal with a parent over-stressing how much her daughter eats.

It also deals with self image and self perception: “That’s what happens when you grow up…you disappear.”  The Plath reference also mentions disappearing as does one of the young women.   

Overall the film looks good. The cinematography and lighting are both dark, till the end, and help set the mood of the film.  The lack of musical score enhances the scenes between Caprice and her mother. It also promotes a sort of fly-on-the-wall feel.

This is easily one of the best short films of 2016 with a dark and multi-layered plot that is truly disturbing on many levels.

The Price of Bones falls just shy of perfection with its opening  “title card.”   A 4.5 star short film that should be seen if at all possible. The Price of Bones  has entered the film festival circuit.



Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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