+ Recommended – PG-13, Comedy, Drama
Our first short film review of the new year! While it masks itself as a comedy, there’s much more subtext underneath the script. In our world, and especially our culture here in the United States, materialism matters most. Success is a means to flaunt your most prized possessions and, for men, a way to attract partners.
Gunther (Timothy J. Cox) is noticeably cold with his wife of three years, Natalie, and decides it is time to pursue a new one. Even with his modern house, and a seemingly stable life, he doesn’t appear content; a first-world, contemporary phenomenon. At the end of the day, he wants a new toy to play with. And because his wife is a literal sex doll (plot twist), she’s easily replaceable by today’s standards.
Though it is a comedy at heart, it speaks volumes to the way capitalism has shaped our perception of success. But even larger volumes to how a patriarchal society treats women: as merely expendable. The mindset that after you’ve grown bored with them, you just toss them in the trash outside and call it a day because that’s all they are good for. A majority of the snappy six minute run-time explores this.
Writer-director Yalan Hu employs simple, yet effective, techniques to drive home this point: namely by showing how the other men, even the ones who aren’t as well-off as Gunther, treat their partners (who are also sex dolls). There’s a scene where Gunther and another man fight over possession of one doll, each shouting “mine.” And if you’re paying close enough attention, you’ll notice that not a single, real woman was cast. The editing work done by Yue Zhao compliments Hu’s direction.
Beyond the narrative, the camera work (by Bailey Liu) is sharp and the length is short; a perfect amount of time is allotted to outlining the social commentary. I highly suggest that you seek out more independent projects like this one. Doll It Up‘s comedy, accomplished by Cox and the supporting cast, will kindle a few laughs at the very least.