A Million Eyes: When a picture says more than a 1000 words

A picture. Whether it’s one of your birthday, marriage, parents, childhood, friends or just from something totally different, it always tells a very personal story. It’s just like making a movie. Director Richard Raymond (“Souls of Totality”, “Desert Dancer”) decided to combine both photos and movie by making a film about photography. “A Million Eyes” turns out to be a beautifully shot, relaxing and intimate portrait of a young photographer

Leroy (Elijah M. Cooper) is living with his mom Amber (Katie Lowes) in their lovely house. He has a big love for photography and cameras and when he’s not home, he’s certainly on his way to find the perfect shot. People, houses, nature, etc. It’s all incredibly fascinating for him. While he’s trying to improve his photography skills, he has to cope with the alcohol addiction of his mother. It feels like he’s taking off her instead of the other way around: waiting for her after her work, tucking her in bed, etc. During one ordinary day, Leroy meets Fern (Joe Morton) who’s as passionate about photography as him. A father-son connection is blossoming between them but the troubled love between his mom and the booze is also still increasing. Sadly, this results in a life-changing event for both Leroy and Amber. How will she cope with this, which impact will this have on her abuse and how will this affect Leroy’s life?

After making his unique and ground-breaking “Souls of Totality” last year, it was probably a challenge for Raymond to get the same success with this film. Well, we wouldn’t be surprised if he would manage to do it, especially because the movie already won an Honorable Mention Award at Hollyshorts.

First of all, by offering Elijah M. Cooper (“TORN”, “Murder Chose Me”) a wonderful film debut with this movie. This might be his first film but certainly not his last. There’s little conversation in this film and so Cooper has to deliver the emotions of his character in other ways. One of those is his voice-over that’s being used in this movie. It tells us all about his life and love for photos in a beautiful, immersive and calm way. The other way in which Cooper shows us his talent is his emotional, intriguing and pleasing acting performance. There’s not much interaction between Cooper and his on-screen mum Katie Lowes (“Ralph Breaks the Internet, “Scandal”) but when there’s, it’s a wonderous one full of love and care. Lowes is lovely and touching as the mother who wants to take of her son and who wants to be there for him but who’s also the victim of her addiction. The most interaction is between Cooper and Morton and thanks to Morton’s passionate, sweet and charming appearances, we feel Leroy and Fern growing closer to each other every minute.

While Raymond used incredibly innovative shooting methods and cinematography during his previous film, he keeps it more down-to-earth and traditional this time. However that doesn’t mean that this film isn’t captivating at all. It shines thanks to its simplicity and honesty. You got the feeling that you’re there with Leroy and experience his life first hand.

“A Million Eyes” was one of the movies that was part of the great line-up of the Raindance Film Festival. No wonder that it was part of the film festival because this movie is a modest, beautifully made and delightfully performed one.

Film and Celebrity Reporter, Liselotte Vanophem

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