The chances that you or someone you know will be touched by Alzheimer’s is, unfortunately, still very high. Although scientific advances have helped to treat the symptoms of this debilitating disease, a cure is still beyond our reach. In Dan Karlok’s short film Testimonial, we come face to face with the impact and emotional distress of being diagnosed with this life-changing condition. Centered on an aging professor who is coming to terms with the early onset, this once intelligent and mentally sound intellectual is starting to lose what made him what he is.

We first encounter the professor, played by Ted Yudain, sitting at his desk, deep in thought while writing a letter. As we pan over the letter, certain words come into focus and it becomes clear what his intentions are. As he opens his briefcase to place the note inside, we see a loaded handgun. Clearly in distress and confused, he leaves his office and stumbles into a surprise party – his own retirement party no less. Confused, irritated and completely blindsided, he’s pushed around the room to take pictures, greet guests and say his obligatory speech. Finally, he’s able to take a breath and escapes to the garden for a smoke, still clinging to his briefcase. As he opens the briefcase, with the same intent, a young woman appears behind him – an old student here to pay her respects to her favorite professor. As the two talk, the professor becomes intrigued, asking her to remember the best bits from his lectures, almost giddy at the attention. As Allison recites quote after quote, she starts to realize something isn’t right. The man she knew had changed and he was struggling to remain the man he knew himself to be.

With such a delicate subject matter, it’s easy to make it too cheesy, sappy and sentimental to hammer home the message. Thankfully, Testimonial doesn’t do this. Instead, it gently and tenderly allows the main character to release his frustration and accept his reality. Using a clever, if not predictable twist, writer Jack Rushen redirects your interpretation to what essentially is an internal dialogue. Yudain’s performance as the Professor takes some time to find its stride, starting off rigid, but slowly warming to the task. It’s only when he meets ex-student Allison, and starts to discuss his struggles and past experiences, that we start to see his emotional range. Although inconsistent, the emotional distress does comes through clearly in his performance. Allison on the other hand, played by Kristen Krak, struggles to really convey any emotion throughout and, unfortunately, comes across wooden in most scenes. Playing such a pivotal role in the Professor’s journey to self acceptance, the lack of feeling really hinders the dialogue between the two and is in clear contrast to his pain and anguish.

While Testimonial just about hits all the emotional notes, it falls flat with its execution. The performance of Yudain undoubtedly overshadows the supporting cast and, as such, is a clear highlight. The emotional journey he undertakes will be familiar to some, difficult to watch for others. Increasing awareness of Alzheimer’s is the main winner here, and it’s safe to say that despite it’s issues, Dan Karlok’s Testimonial has left a touching reminder.




The chances that you or someone you know will be touched by Alzheimer’s is, unfortunately, still very high. Although scientific advances have helped to treat

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