In the current circumstances we live in, and have lived in for the last two years, we sometimes have to remind ourselves that everything will, in fact, be all right. We need that deep breath, that reconciliation with ourselves that we did everything we could, no matter how hard the choice may have been, but in the end we did what we needed to and everything will be all right. That phrase, has so much meaning, so much passion behind it; it’s a sense of calming, a sense of hope, it is like a friend’s shoulder. There is something reassuring about those five words that bring forth such an overwhelming sense of relief.
Director Farhad Pakdel manages to pack so much into his tightly paced and rounded 16-minute short, Everything Will be All Right, that it has that perfect combination of angst, dread, anxiety, and heartbreak. There is so much going on and so much to process, especially because it is set at the beginning of the COVID pandemic and because it affected so many people countless ways, the message and overarching story within Everything Will be All Right hits that much harder.
The film focuses on Leila (Nahema Ricci) who is a schoolteacher in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, who is going on about her day, teaching her students as she normally does. At the end of the class, a collogue of hers walks in and informs her that due to the COVID situation things are starting to slow down and the school will be closing until the government can figure out what the next steps are. As this is all happening, she gets a phone call from her mother informing her that her father has fallen ill with COVID and is in the ICU. Now, while Leila lives in Montreal, her family lives elsewhere and is presumed to be France, as they beg her to come home to see her father before she no longer can. This creates an internal struggle with Leila as health officials have advised against any form of unnecessary travel and restrictions for isolation upon arrival and return will heavily impact her job (if they continue to stay open) and her personal life as well as her health. She is constantly battling herself to decide if she should or shouldn’t board a plane and take this flight back home to potentially see her father for the final time.
Since the beginning of COVID, everyone has dealt with the hardships and stress that has come from it in different ways. However, it would be a safe assumption that everyone has known someone who’s contracted COVID, who’s lost someone to COVID, or has been personally affected by COVID. Throughout Everything Will be All Right, Nahema Ricci delivers a stellar performance that will break its audience. It is devastatingly real, emotional, and downright heartbreaking. There is so much to be loved about her performance that is all amplified by the incredible script by Farhad Pakdel. To have so much passion, love, misery, and heartbreak packed into 16 minutes is nothing shy of remarkable, but to have an actress who can deliver all of that and just connect with an audience in that short of a time frame as well is nothing shy of remarkable. When the market has been overwhelmed with COVID documentaries, features, and shorts for the last two years, to have something this thought provoking and moving is nothing shy of an inspiration in of itself. Nahema Ricci is a revelation and Farhad Pakdel is a writer and director that has to be looked out for in the future.
Screening during the 2022 SXSW Film Festival.
SXSW Screening Information:
*Saturday, March 12th, Screening @ 5:30 pm CT, Alamo Lamar B
*Sunday, March 13th, On-line Screening @ 9:00 am CT
*Wednesday, March 16th, Screening @ 3:30 pm CT, Alamo Lamar E
For more information, head to the official Everything Will Be All Right SXSW webpage.
Final Score: 4 out of 5.