Sunday, August 31, 2008


Directed by Rob Pearlstein, USA, 2004, 14 minutes

Source: Itunes- Shorts International

 Dr. Stern is an extremely organized and uptight psychiatrist who does his job every day with less than a smile on his face. His patients include a womanizer who can't form a connection with women, an anorexic,  a man who is in denial about his attraction towards men, a woman who is obsessed with cleanliness, a man who can't help but touch a woman's ass, a man who is deathly afraid of turtles, a man who is abused by his girlfriend and a man who is afraid of the dark. Dr. Stern doesn't do much of anything for these patients, that is, until he gets a call from his own doctor with pretty horrible news... he has only six weeks to live. Upon retrieving this information, Dr. Stern begins to care less about being professional and more about living his life. Along with this new appreciation for life, Dr. Stern also starts to actually give his patients advice. As brutally honest as he is in his delivery, Dr. Stern truly makes a remarkable difference in each of his patients' lives.

 I chose this film in particular to write about because it speaks the truth. People are in need of a rude awakening sometimes in order to make considerable changes in their lives and Dr. Stern finally gave them that chance. He truly did right by these people by telling them the facts instead of telling them what they think they want to hear. He helps them deal with their own peculiar, yet significant issues while simultaneously dealing with his ... 'issue'.

 I believe this film is extremely entertaining, especially in its delivery. Over the course of the film, it is easy to tell how Dr. Stern, played by the established actor, Kevin Pollak, has changed since retrieving news of his impending death. He no longer wakes up at 7 AM on the dot, he leaves the newspaper on the front porch, he goes to work in his robe and slippers; his life has a new meaning now that it has been, well, shortened. Some may find that sad under normal circumstances, but the director of this film meant for the viewer to be amused, not upset. Pearlstein wanted to tell the story of Dr. Leonard Stern and how it took one phone call saying that he only had six weeks to LIVE for him to actually start LIVING and enjoying his life. In the end, Dr. Stern finally started to relax, enjoy his work and  give his patients the advice that they were looking for all along, but didn't know they needed. Leonard Stern can die a happy, honest man.


Jeremy said...

The film is a whole lot of fun just watching Dr. Stern's personality come out. I would also make a point of how the visuals teach the viewer about his personality in bits and pieces, one cut at a time. Wes Anderson and Jason Reitman do the same thing. The shots of his shoes, his ties, and his shirts all similar and lined up in perfect order illustrate a character obsessed with routine.

Even the way Dr. Stern closes the doors to his office and straightens his tie - considering he works at home - tells us everything. No words necessary.

Anonymous said...

What is the jazzy tune that plays in the closing credits?

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