Thursday 15 September 2016

[Film Review] - Hux

Stars; Mageina Tovah, Harry Dean Stanton
Written, directed, produced and edited by Mageina Tovah.
Running time; 12 minutes

Hux is alone, frightened and one day rebels against the lonely isolation of her autism. braving the confusing, chaotic outside world. The sounds and sights prove too much for Hux with her attempts at interaction repeatedly thwarted by her powerful aversion to stimuli. Hux's isolation grows as a global pandemic decimates the population leaving her frightened and alone. When all seems lost, Hux finds one final chance to connect.

For Mageina Tovah, better known to Marvel fans as the shy Ursula in Spiderman 2 and 3 and with a host of roles in some of the US top television shows, Hux is a true labour of love. As well as starring in the title role the talented Miss Tovah wrote, directed, produced and even edited this stirring story of a young girl who finds the strength within to overcome her greatest fears. For this creative debut behind the lens, Tovah spun a delicate web of emotionally charged drama set against the backdrop of a cataclysmic world event. In coming up with Hux the story has familiar undertones.

Although the two projects are world's apart in almost every respect, the idea of Hux is reminiscent of another short film featured here in which the central character was limited or unable to communicate with the outside world. Whilst the outlook for Stutterer was more optimistic both films use their central protagonists coping mechanisms to tell the story, both even feature a supportive and understanding father figure. For Hux this was her grandfather played by late screen legend Harry Dean Stanton in flashback, a story telling tool that proves to be highly effect as we near the end. At the heart of the film though is its star and creator who not only puts in a career best performance but proves herself to be a capable storyteller.

As Hux, Mageina is delightful, successfully conveying the everyday struggles of people suffering with autism and accentuating it with an extraordinary global event that unfolds in the background. Mageina the director keeps the focus on her main character struggling through her everyday routine following the death of her grandfather. The viewer can't help at times but feel her frustrations with tasks most take for granted. Add in the foreboding events that sense of frustration is mixed with sadness as the viewer realises all too well this lovable child faces bigger challenges. Mageina really captures Hux's characteristics perfectly so much so that at the end when we see her take a big step we are left with a mixture of emotions, relieved yet with so much of the story to tell, a longing to know what happens next with a touch of hope that she will be OK.

Hux is an impressive debut film from Mageina Tovah who has proven herself to be impressive both in front and behind the camera. Skillfully edited by its writer/director/star and a stirring folk song from Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent  (formerly of American folk duo, Shovels & Rope) the film is touching, poignant and given its dark undertones life affirming enough to leave you with a smile on your face.    

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