(Image: Chicago Irish Film Festival)

2017 Chicago Irish Film Festival: Short Program II


Kids not only say the darndest things, but do the darndest things too.  “The Debt” is a highly charming short film illustrating a child’s view of courtship and love.  The romantic ways of the world are foreign to the young, so they make up their own ideas.  Engaging and well-acted by youth performers, this short film will charm you to pieces.

“The Debt” centers on two schoolyard friends, Penny (Susie Power) and Daithi (Lee O’Donoghue).  The boy is fixated on classmate named Jessica (Eabha Last) that he has a major crush on.  He wants her attention to impress her.  Daithi finds out she was a necklace setting in motion his desire to fulfill that wish any way he can.  He enlists the frustrated Penny to help him.  The two come up with several misguided schemes to pool allowances and scrounge for more money, dodging attention and bullies.  Much to her chagrin, Penny wishes Daithi could notice her that way he does Jessica.

Helen Flanagan’s winner of a short is plucky, endearing, and fun at every turn.  Denis Clohessy’s buoyant music lifts the atmosphere and the child actors do a marvelous job taking direction without looking over-coached.  It’s the kind of film that cannot help but put a smile on your face because there’s a good chance at some point in your life you were either Daithi, Penny, or Jessica or are raising one now as a parent.  A short film is the perfect length to show off this cheeky story.

LESSON #1: A CHILD’S REASONING OF ROMANCE-- Kids are mostly clueless as to what it means or what it takes to earn someone’s heart.  Chivalry is a big idea young boys haven’t wrapped their head around yet.  They’re bound to over do it or miss the mark.  Pre-teens and teens side with materialism first before noticing it takes much more than that which money can’t buy.

LESSON #2: WHAT TRUE FRIENDS WILL DO FOR YOU-- Both kids and adults can get caught up in social distractions, including those in the form of romantic entanglements.  They may become blinded enough to forget the supportive people next to them.  Real friends will give you the shirt off their back, literally and figuratively, to help you with titular things you may owe the wrong kind of people.  In the end, you never know.  That best friend may just be the right person for you.