June Butler takes a look at Pat Shortt’s Warts and All.
Directed by Pat Shortt and written by Michelle Lehane, Warts and All is a beautifully rendered short film about a young man in search of love. Aron (Danny McCafferty) matches with Nora (Michelle Lehane) on a dating site and they arrange to meet up. At the first encounter, both parties are immediately drawn to each other and as time moves on, they gradually fall in love. But Aron is keeping a dark secret, one that he is terrified of sharing, and in the latter half of the film, his inner turmoil begins to reach a critical tipping point. The question remains as to whether Aron’s crisis will ever find resolution.
Sensitive and tender, Warts and All ponders the question of body dysmorphia versus what constitutes beauty. Is attractiveness really in the eye of the beholder? And by whose standard is loveliness assessed? The thinnest line separates the two and in the blink of an eye, allure can dissipate into becoming something alien and repugnant. Loving another is a cerebral construct and once the feeling is gone, metamorphoses into an obsolete and empty emotion.
Danny McCafferty is wonderful as Aron – bringing to his role a level of vulnerability and thoughtfulness while Michelle Lehane delivers compassion and understanding in the part of Nora. Lehane has also written a believable and weighty script with a subject matter that should be addressed and scrutinised. The ultimate accolade, however, must be bestowed on Pat Shortt who has proved to be as gifted a director as he is an actor. Shortt has represented this superb film with a confidence that suggests he intends returning to his director’s chair (hopefully) in the very near future.
Warts and All screens at the Richard Harris International Film Festival on 29th October 2022.