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  • Andrew Godfrey

Powerless – Short film review – 4 Stars


It can be hard to express the feeling of grief, even more so to articulate the emotions we feel in the aftermath of losing a loved one. Anger, depression, loneliness, these are key themes that are brought to the surface in Nicole Pott’s new short film Powerless.


Powerless provides a window into a world that all of us would dread to be in.

Sonder Pictures latest short brings Pott’s vision of a grief-stricken family, brother and sister, who are each processing the loss of their mother in different ways. Clara (Katie Marie-Carter) has assumed the role of mum, from nagging about washing to making sure Dan (Ellis Hollins) is back in time for tea. Aside from taking on parental responsibility for her brother, a passion for boxing has provided a vice to process her anger and sadness. Dan, on the other hand, has fallen into the wrong crowd and the world of drugs and petty crime.


On the two-year anniversary of their mother’s death – Dan ditches their planned dinner and winds up in a situation that he is not able to get out of this time, crashing his sister’s world and leaving her alone just weeks before her big fight.


Powerless provides a window into a world that all of us would dread to be in. We have all at times felt powerless in one way or another. The feeling of no matter what we do or how hard we try it can be difficult to accept situations that we have no control over. Pott subtly shows us this and the emotional journey we all would go on in such a traumatic event – even as far as to wish it had happened to others.


Accompanied by a brilliant score that brings the grotty suburban life of the economically deprived parts of the North to the forefront, we get a true sense of the world that these characters live in, and the daily struggles they face on top of the difficult past they have experienced.


What Powerless does show, and in fact what it leaves us with, is the sense of claiming what we can control. While we cannot control what has happened, we can control what we do next. The ending is one of hope, and not bittersweet, Potts reminds us that there is life after loss. While it might not be an easy path, we are not powerless to move on. A fantastic short that is what we have come to expect from one of Derbyshire’s best up and coming filmmakers.

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