With “Birthday,” writer and director Chris King tells the story of thousands of heroic veterans and their courageous wives. Many of whom have to endure hardships and years of struggles after their loved ones have come home disfigured or crippled after being injured in combat. Stars Mandy Moody and Chris Gouchoe are superb as a husband and wife separated by thousands of mile as her Marine husband, played by Gouchoe, fights in the war. After being injured in combat thanks to a land mine, he arrives home with both legs and one arm amputated.
Forced to endure hours of painful therapy, surgery, and adapting to a new world, the couple struggle through the pain with their love keeping them tightly bonded throughout the ordeals he faces. With remarkable special effects and ace editing, director King is able to convey a lot of the obstacles these couples face when their loved ones return injured or scarred. While this kind of short has potential to be political or exploitative, director King injects a lot of beauty and nobility to the struggles faced by both characters.
Moody’s character is a relentlessly devoted wife who does whatever it takes to keep her husband moving forward and healing through his wounds. King conveys a lot of the road to recovery with wonderfully filmed montages, exploring the smaller elements of therapy, while also emphasizing the emotions of both characters. They share an unbreakable bond that’s as solid as steel, and both characters are faced with an uncertain road as they continue sharing their lives together. “Birthday” is a superb homage to the married couples faced with the aftermath of debilitating war injuries, and the long, stressful road to recovery the face. It’s absolutely moving and masterfully constructed.