The Key (2006)

Key_posterDirector Todd Kaufman’s short film named “The Key” is a film that I really couldn’t help but flip over. In only eighteen minutes it manages to speak sounds and waves of romance, and life more than any other film can attempt, and Kaufman really knows his characters. “The Key” is a beautiful short elegy about breaking out from your shell and being forced to confront the outside world you fear so heavily. In this case, it’s a girl named Miriam.

After her husband dies, Miriam becomes an agoraphobe refusing to leave her apartment, and is haunted by her husband’s memory living among a scattered confined memorial of his life. Is she really agoraphobic, or does she just refuses to move on without her husband? Regardless, she’s forced to confront the world as one day she psyches herself into stepping out of her apartment and leave the rent money for her landlord. But on her way back, she breaks her key, and as she becomes anxious she finds herself torn away from her own world further and further.

While almost forced out of her world, she re-discovers the outside world in the process. What’s so brilliant about “The Key” is not only is it a sweet romance, but Kaufman manages to capture the all-consuming fear of agoraphobia without fault. The inside of Miriam’s world is sweet yet tragic, while the outside world is frightening, and dark. Shaw’s performance is utterly wrenching as she re-discovers the moon and manages to meet someone who invariably helps her.

The story is capped off by a beautifully ironic surprise ending that I never saw coming. When a short film such as this can pull me in, it speaks of true talent. Kaufman makes a great statement about how one tiny incident can set off a chain of events that can change our lives forever. “The Key” is the perfect example of how sometimes all it takes is kindness to help us conquer our fears, and Kaufman’s film is a beautiful bittersweet tale.