Hen & Ham is a film that exudes nostalgia from its old school aspect ratio to its sentimental storyline.
The film is centered around an unexpected friendship that forms through the crackled connection of a ham radio used to communicate and exchange messages. In an attempt to find his father, Henry (Jeb Aufiero) lands on a radio channel that puts him in contact with Rose (Lorayn DeLuca), a woman with Alzheimer’s. Their daily conversations exemplify how comfort and support during hard times can show itself in the most unexpected ways.
Hen & Ham carries a similar high-production indie atmosphere to film’s such as Call Me by your Name (2017) and The Florida Project (2017). Akin to these works by Luca Guadagnino and Sean Baker, Hen & Ham’s cinematography (Curt Braden) and sound (Josh Roberts) create a hypersensitive experience where the audience can feel the humid summer heat. The warmth radiates from the stillness of the trees, the faded yet glowing skies, and the cicadas and song bird’s quiet chirps in the background.
Bill Snyder III and Roland Bingaman’s score further bring out the indie essence with soft and dreamy melodies that, on their own, can tell the film’s story of raw and vulnerable human connection. The natural and layered performances of Aufiero, DeLuca, and Jennifer Adams, who plays Rose’s daughter, leave the audience with no choice but to fall effortlessly into the character’s lives, wanting to know more about them.
Paired with the classic 4:3 aspect ratio, Hen & Ham’s Kodachrome look is reminiscent of a distant yet recent past where human connection wasn’t built off of followers and likes, but through real interaction and deep conversation.
The muted tones with pops of blue and red are a much-needed artistic reminder that the real cure to feelings of loneliness, grief, or sadness are the authentic and unguarded connections that expose the beauty in humanity.