Peggy: Keeping up appearances in a funny, witty and intriguing short film

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Whether we like to admit it or not, social status is something we all care about. Don’t we all want to be liked by a lot of people? Don’t we all want to be called “beautiful”, “perfect” or just “flawless” by our peers? Some of us don’t care about it that much but others go to great lengths to achieve that social status. Peggy, the new short film from director Justin O’Neal Miller (“The Roach”, “Restitution”) highlights this. With Peggy, Justin made a funny and witty short comedy that has a dark undertone. Nothing is what it seems…

In Peggy, Peggy (Sarah Blackman) has done everything to make sure that her son has the best birthday party ever. Still, it soon becomes clear that she’s using all the effort, luxury and the overabundance of gifts just for her own social status and wealthy appearance. After receiving wonderful compliments about how awesome she is and how amazing the party is, everything seems to go well for her. However, the perfect social status comes with a lot of jealousy and backstabbing. A LOT!

At first sight, this movie seems to be about people just attending a birthday party hosted by their favourite friend, especially because the cheerful and upbeat music gives a happy and joyful vibe to the film. However, once the voice-overs set in, it becomes evident that it’s all just for the show. Even the gifts, which seems perfect for an eight-year-old boy, have a darker sight to it than what meets the eye. It’s certainly all about keeping up appearances in Peggy and it’s the use of the multiple voice-overs that makes this film such a marvellous and interesting one. Alongside the up-tempo music comes a very vibrant and joyful cinematography from J. Christopher Campbell but when the dark thoughts set in, the colours become blurry and faded.

Peggy is beautifully portrayed by Sarah Blackman (“Necessary Roughness”, “Bless Yer Heart”). Not only as the friendly, loving and welcoming host but also as the merciless, tenacious and uncompromising mother and wife who’s determined to keep her social status as high as possible even if it means hurting the ones closest to her. As Peggy’s double-crossed “friends”, we see Muretta Moss (“Beauty & the Beholder”, “The Transition”) as Lisa and Kristen Shawn (“Ivacain”, “Lust: The Desires of the Heart”) as Emily and Jason MacDonald (“Gilda Sue Rosenstern: The Motion Picture!”, “1st Summoning”) as the husband who shows his wife she’s not the only one who can deceive people. Together, the cast are all wonderful in this film.

Since starting its festival run at the end of last year, Peggy has won multiple well-deserved awards including Best in Show at Rome International Film Festival, the Jury and Audience Awards for Best Short at Spokane International Film Festival, and the Audience Award for Best Short at Calgary International Film Festival and just very recently it was announced that the film will be part of the Tribeca Film Festival 2019. Peggy is a film that sticks with you, not only because of the intriguing story but also because of the splendid use of voice-overs and very precise acting performances.

Liselotte Vanophem, Film and Celebrity Reporter – Just Celebrity Magazine

Peggy Teaser from Justin Miller on Vimeo.

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