• Andrew Godfrey

To Poor for Pride – short film review

At what point do you abandon your principles?

Written & directed by Nadine O’Mahony

That is the question that Nadine O’Mahony asks in her latest short, Too Poor For Pride. It’s apparent from the start that this is not a story that’s going to have a happy ending – the central image of the Nameless Woman (Kate Pothecery) hiding, retreated as far as she can be into the cold corner of a derelict brick house tell us all we need to know from the offset.

What I loved about this earthy and gritty short film was the anger and desperation that floods from every corner of the screen. You can feel the struggle of the Nameless Woman and there is a feeling that something has been building for a long time and that it’s about to be revealed.

No money for food. No money for rent. Just a mother who has been abandoned with just her baby, that she cannot bring herself to name, and her pride.

That’s the question at the heart of this film, at what point do you sacrifice your pride?

This is no easy question to answer and O’Mahony scratches the surface of the cost of having such values. We assume that having principles is what makes the mark of a character. They are unwavering in the face of adversity and so often characters are offered a chance to betray their principles in favour of an easy way out. So many times we have seen such hero’s in movies consider the cost of giving in and still they refuse – and we cheer them on every time.

But change the setting and flip the situation, and suddenly these principles that define our characters really are put to the test. The scene that O’Mahony has crafted here is not pleasant for this mother, superbly played by Kate Pothecery I might add. She has been through hell for her baby. But now she is at the end of the line and she cannot go any further unless she gives up her principles to her sickening and lecherous landlord.

This is what makes Too Poor for Pride different. Normally, if we see a character give in and sacrifice their principles, their pride, we lose our respect for them. They are no longer our hero as they have crossed a line that they can never return to. Yet, as we hear the sheer misfortune of this mothers existence - we understand why.

Even though I knew what was about to happen, I still found myself hoping for a last gasp of resilience, for our hero to re-discover hope and to fight again. I was yearning to see what I have seen countless times in film.

In screenwriting, this is called the dark-night of the soul. But here, in this real world, there is no last effort, there is no hope, just a dark night.

Cut to black.


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