The Admired follows Olivia Spencer (played by Director/ Co-Writer/Star Jacqueline Murphy); an aspiring LA actress who just can’t seem to get her career off the ground. When Olivia meets her friend for lunch, their conversation is interrupted by a strange man, who offers to make her a star, in exchange for forgetting her current life. Olivia agrees, and finds herself transported to the glamour of 1940s Old Hollywood – but soon discovers that not all dreams turn out like the movies.
The production values on this short are excellent – the world of Old Hollywood is convincingly recreated with atmospheric lighting, a plethora of beautiful costumes, and subtle but delightful sound design. The title song ‘Admired’, written and delightfully performed by Bridget Brady, is catchy and enjoyable, and Brady is clearly a formidable vocal talent. The story – reminiscent of the Faust myth, in which a protagonist is granted fame, but for a price - is perhaps not the most original; but the world is richly painted - filled with disloyal, backstabbing characters behind the thin façade of glamour.
The Admired marks the directorial debut for Murphy and as such is an impressive feat; particularly given the fact that she also stars. Her performance is spirited - particularly during the humourous opening skit in which Olivia gives herself a pep-talk about a recent audition. In fact, it would have been nice to see a little more of this neurotic side to the character throughout, as this was quite charming and made the character feel idiosyncratic.
At 19 minutes, the film did feel a touch over the ideal length; but if the end credits and some of the song were trimmed, this could easily be brought closer to 15 minutes; a more ideal length for film festivals. Generally, however, this is an accomplished piece of work and an enjoyable twist on a classic story.
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Written & Directed by: Jacqueline Murphy
Co-Written by: Lynne Newton, Leonid Andronov
STARRING: Jacqueline Murphy, Lynne Newton, Leon Winters, Steve Carnahan, Bridget Brady