Maggie Kaszuba’s short film is a brief glimpse into what it is to be alive, what it is to appreciate life, and how important it is to open your eyes when important lessons are to be learnt: Inspired’s protagonist, Sam, is trapped in something she can’t quite explain. Her world has turned against her – her routine, her hobbies, the people around her… Kaszuba focuses on small details that drive her protagonist crazy and allow her viewers to understand and sympathise.
Her home life has gone stale. A grey and empty atmosphere follows her from home and through the corridors of the gymnasium: pizza for dinner every night, a mother who’s too depressed and lonely to care, a coach who is harsh and unforgiving. In one scene, she snaps and shrieks, “Coach hates me!” and the advice she’s given is that her coach doesn’t hate her, that she can learn from her coach, that this is an opportunity to improve the way she lives.
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But the struggle continues, her life continues to wear her down, she grows more bitter and more desperate. What is interesting is that this seems to be a recent occurrence; the disappointment that people like her basketball coach feel is the result of who they know she used to be, or who they know she could be. It is clear to everyone but her that the people in her life respect her, that they don’t hate her. The pressures of life mount, and this culminates in something unexpected. But while Sam’s sequence of decisions is inarguably negative, her choices lead to something positive. And the outcome of Sam’s depression is the foundation upon which this story is built.
The filmmaker weaves what feels like a highly personal tale, and by doing so, expresses an important message: life is valuable. And often the injustices of life are relative – how you perceive life impacts how you feel about it. This is undoubtedly an important message, but it is also the slighter aspects of Inspired that make it worth its 15 minutes playing time. Sam ends up finding value in her life and this spreads and touches all the characters in Kaszuba’s film.
Watch a trailer for Inspired here: