Heartfelt and earnest, Feeling Through is a well-made and thoughtful short film that manages to remain rather understated despite its emotive subject matter, giving it a keen sense of sincerity.
Coming in at 19 minutes, the film tells the story of Tereek (Steven Prescod), a homeless teen on the streets of New York whose night is changed when he encounters Artie (Robert Tarango), a deaf-blind man holding a sign asking for help to get across the street. Despite his own troubles, Tereek decides to help him and spends his night trying to get him home.
The most remarkable thing about the film is the performances, and the two main leads are excellent in their roles. Prescod brings heft to his performance that makes him instantly believable, the value of it coming as much in his expert use of facial expressions and body language as in his line delivery, which is just as well measured and nuanced.
This is the first film to star a deaf-blind actor, which is a history-making moment, but Tarango’s performance is much more than just that fact. Much like Prescod, his performance exudes authenticity, and the chemistry between Prescod and Tarango plays a major role in the charm of the film. Writer-director Doug Roland does well to allow the nuance of their interactions to come through organically, the camera never imposing too much and allowing for more of a naturalistic feel as they start to get to know each other. Tereek’s moral and personal struggles are etched all over his face while they do so, with Tarango responding in kind with earnest reactions to Tereek’s kindnesses. This dichotomy in their mannerisms makes for some very engaging scenes as themes of communication and trust are explored.
That is where the true joy of the film lies. These quiet, seemingly minimal interactions bring out the humanity of the characters amidst a cold, uncaring New York backdrop that can feel so oppressive. Perhaps the feel-good sentiment the film manages to elicit could feel a little artificial to some, but there’s enough charm here that any feeling of artifice is bypassed and what is left is a sweet and good-hearted film that believes in its message and does important work for representation, even if perhaps it’s not quite impactful enough to hit the next level.
Dir: Doug Roland
Scr: Doug Roland
Cast: Steven Prescod, Robert Tarango
Prd: Doug Roland, Susan Rezenski, Phil Newsom, Luis Augusto Figueroa
DoP: Eugene Koh
Music: Daniel Ryan
Runtime: 19 mins