Netflix has a new sapphic short film. Heart Shot tells the story of two teenagers in love. Sam (Nia Sondaya) skips a family trip to sneak her girlfriend over. Though she’s on the cusp of going away to college, her mom is strict. And Sam’s not the only one who bends the rules.
When we first meet Nikki (Elena Heuzé), she’s pickpocketing in a supermarket carpark. But it’s hard to feel much sympathy for her victim. Partly because he’s a suited white man radiating Corporate Asshole energy. But mostly because Nikki uses the money to eat.
Then Nikki gets a text from Sam, complete with excited puppy GIF, to tell her the coast is clear. All is good and well. Until Nikki lifts a gun from her backpack. And this WTF moment sets the tone for the entire short, raising narrative questions that make it impossible to look away.
As Nikki cycles to Sam’s house, we’re left to wonder: is Nikki a scrappy underdog, or something more sinister? Where did she get that gun? And why is she carrying it?
With a short film, there’s always a risk that you won’t be emotionally invested in the characters because the story offers such a tiny snapshot of their life. It can be difficult for filmmakers to include a beginning, middle, and end – the skeleton of a story – along with all the details that flesh it out into something whole. But writer and director Marielle Woods knocks it out the park. Heart Shot is a complete, compelling story. It’s got romance. It’s got action. It’s got an intriguing plot and characters you can’t help but root for.
Heart Shot undeniably benefits from the Netflix production machine. It’s aesthetically stunning in a way that makes this short compelling from the get go. Though small, the cast are on point – which lends this improbable adventure some much needed believability. Sam’s home is Pinterest aesthetic beautiful while still feeling lived in. The fight scenes are expertly choreographed. An eerie soundtrack compounds the ambiguity of the piece, and Nikki herself.
There is nothing remotely amateurish about Heart Shot. It’s entertaining and emotionally engaging. While the film’s conclusion is open-ended, this lack of resolution is intentional and thematically fitting enough to satisfy. It also leaves the door wide open for a sequel, or feature length film – which this reviewer desperately hopes Netflix will deliver.
Heart Shot is now streaming on Netflix.
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