Gregory is an endearing tale of the title character yearning to connect with his family. Writer, Director and Producer Ben McHugh has crafted a poignant story that hits the heart with a glimmer of hope.
In the film’s opening credits the audience is treated to home videos of a young boy smiling and carefree, playing in his yard and riding a tricycle. The song ‘Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’ plays through these video clips and later becomes an important part of the story.
When the film begins in earnest, there are sounds of birds chirping and people playing in a park nearby. Gregory, played beautifully by Godfrey J. Rayner, is sitting on a park bench feeding a few birds. He begins to talk to them as he tosses seeds, and it quickly becomes apparent that he is actually speaking to someone else. He talks freely about his past – his wife, his mistakes, and his son.
Occasionally, he will glance over at a father and daughter kicking a soccer ball around, which brings a smile to his face as he searches for a way to connect. Rayner’s performance is warm and inviting, and his voice invokes a nostalgia that is immediately comforting.
At one point the soccer ball rolls up to Gregory. Skye, played by Madelyn McHugh, runs after it. Skye and Gregory have a brief exchange where Gregory reveals that it is his birthday, which she promptly asks how old he is. They joke and laugh and there is an easy familiarity with their conversation. McHugh is heartwarming and lovely as the curious Skye.
Skye runs back to her dad James (Ben McHugh) with the ball and a story of the older man she met. The father is concerned and wonders what connection his daughter could have with this strange old man. But this is where the film hits home with its quick and effective emotional impact.
While the film runs only six minutes, it is packed with heart and warmth. From its beautiful acting performances, to the gorgeous music by Composer Ivan Georgiev, to its lovely visuals thanks to Director of Photography Zach Cooper.
It is a special film that emphasizes family connection – and love.