Exit: Fighting until the bitter end

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. There are always moments we could use a sentence like that. Times during which living seems unbearable, during which darkness rules over light and during which the awful feeling isn’t going anywhere. However, there might be that sparkle of hope (no matter how small) that makes you revive. Sadly, that might not happen for everyone and Kim, the leading lady in “Exit”, is no exception. On the contrary, life isn’t easy on her as she’s diagnosed with a terminal illness. Now her story is brought to life by writer/director Claire Edmondson (“Everlast: I’m a Boxer”, “Austra: Pussy Riot Protest Film”) and the outcome is an emotional, impressive and mysterious short film.

We all have a way of coping with our anger and frustrations and for Kim (Maria Bello), it’s pulling her gun out and improving her shooting skills. As she’s living in the middle of the desert, there’s no danger of killing people at all. When going back home, her life becomes more quiet and happy as her daughter Coco (Natasha Bassett) is visiting and there’s a lot of cheerful and joyous mother-daughter time. However, that’s just what it looks like on the surface. Kim is suffering from a terminal illness and every moment with her daughter can be the last one. Not wanting to show her pain to Coco, Kim has to keep it in as well as the fear and rage. However, no matter how strong Kim is, the fight against the illness is a long, hard and exhausting. A fight she might not want to see through until the bitter end…

While there’s a brief moment of happiness on the trampoline, “Exit” is everything but an uplifting movie. Cancer, the effect it has on Kim and her environment and also the struggle can feel very close for people who went or who are going through the same heartbroken experience. It’s especially that mother-daughter connection during the difficult time that’s being put in the spotlight and the emotions that come with that.

With such a personal, touching and recognizable topic, “Exit” needed an immensely strong female lead to put both the dark as well as the happy moments onto the big screen. Claire Edmondson was a lucky director as she could count on Maria Bello (“NCIS”, “Giant Little Ones”) for portraying Kim. Bello is wonderfully on-point during the emotional scenes, shows us the more vulnerable side of her character and is able to catch our attention during the entire film. During the more violent shooting scenes, she becomes a real bad-ass woman. “Exit” is not a one-woman show. When Bello shares the screen with Natasha Bassett (“Hail, Caesar!”, “House by the Lake”) who’s her on-screen daughter Coco, “Exit” gets a more playful, light and vibrant touch because of Bassett’s sweet, lighthearted and loveable performance.

Film and Celebrity Reporter Liselotte Vanophem

 

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