Freud, Whose Been Sleeping In My Bed?

 

Dysenchanted (2004) Review 5
Director:Terri Miller,
Starring:K.D. Aubert, Jim Belushi, Jaime Bergman, Alexis Bledel, Laura Kightlinger, Amy Pietz, Shiva Rose, Jill Small, and Sarah Wynter
Length:8 minutes
Rated:NR

 

Group therapy has never been more enchanting when storybook characters Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, Goldilocks, Alice, Dorothy, Red Riding Hood and a soccer mom meet with a therapist to discuss their various neuroses. The new short film Dysenchanted competing at the 2004 Sundance film festival is cleverly charming and even thought-provoking in the process.

Jim Belushi leads an attractive cast of young Hollywood femme fatales through 8 minutes of lively discussion. Seated in a circle in a large impressive study the characters of some of the best loved children’s stories come to life and briefly discuss what it is to be burdened with the problems experienced by fantastical events. For example, the girls bicker over who has the worse time of it–Dorothy reminds us that she has to deal with being attacked by flying monkeys and Sleeping Beauty, well, she has a hard time keeping her head up.

The idea of bringing together characters from famous classic stories and putting them into contemporary or new yarns is certainly not original in and of itself (lest we forget the awful summer 2003 misfire that was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). What is fresh about Dysenchanted is that it smartly contemporizes these characters in a matter of fact way that makes the little therapy session believable. Writer/Director Terri Edda Miller never strays from her narrow setting and singular premise. I wonder whether interest could have been sustained longer than Dysenchanted’s brisk 8-minute running time. My thought is that Miller ought to contact David Chase (The Sopranos) and arrange one of these group sessions with Carmela Soprano. Such a use of Miller’s idea could win an Emmy.

Instead of Mrs. Soprano, Miller humanizes the little fantasy world she has created by inserting a soccer mom named Clara (Amy Pietz). Clara does not look upon the other members of the group as freaks or for the fantastical creatures that they are; rather, she accepts them and even listens to their advice airlifted from the pages of fairy tales. This film gives new meaning to the thought that everything we need to know we learned in kindergarten.

Dysenchanted is the brainchild of writer/director Terri Edda Miller who in creating this short movie put to work some 5000 feet of 35 mm film that she was awarded by winning the Grand Prize at the Back East Picture Show. Her entry in that film festival was a short entitled My Femme Lady. The remarkable thing is that Miller only had a year to use the film awarded her. The result is really special and will leave you wanting for another group session.