Michael Buie’s “The Lake” is a masterpiece of a short film. It’s a beautiful, somber, and heartbreaking look at how the inevitability of our death doesn’t mean we have to stop living life. I sat through the entirety of “The Lake” with a teary eye, mainly because director and writer Michael Buie manages to convey the terror and confusion of being told you’re about to die with pure brilliance. “The Lake” is never exploitative or over saccharine, it’s just about learning to make the most of the time we have in our life.
Director and writer Buie plays Matt Streeter, a man nearing middle age who’s just discovered he has aggressive lung cancer. Filled with immense terror, and sadness, he reflects on his life with his wife and daughters, and the unfairness of confronting his cancer as his wife still was recovering from losing her mother to stomach cancer a year before. Anxious to spare them the sight of his deterioration from cancer, Matt decides to go out to the lake house he and his family always vacationed, and take his life.
Through that, he could spare his family the suffering, while also allowing them to collect life insurance. “The Lake” has a lot of thoughts and emotions to fit in to fourteen minutes. While I would have loved to see this film stretched in to a feature length, thankfully the short format never hurts it. Right to the end, “The Lake” feels like the goodbye letter of a dying man, and Buie doesn’t just ponder on the pain of life, but how funny life can be when you least expect it. “The Lake” is a wonderful short drama, and if you ever come across it, I highly suggested giving it a chance.