To Be Alone

Rated: Not Rated

        As I mentioned in my reviews of the films Delusion and Here Lies Joe, tackling subjects such as grief and suicide in a film can be exceedingly difficult. After watching the short To Be Alone by Matthew Mahler there’s one phrase that played over and over in my mind: It’s his cross to bear.
        The film is about William and his rough, yet eerily quiet journey as he deals with the grief left behind after his wife’s passing. Timothy J. Cox, who plays William, masterfully portrays the difficulty, confusion and heartache this grieving husband is going through, despite not saying a word throughout the film.
        This is Matthew Mahler’s second short featuring Timothy J. Cox not saying a word, (the first was
What Jack Built), and this duo is proving to be a powerhouse when it comes to portraying wordless emotion. But where What Jack Built was a frenzy of curiosity, determination and sheer grit, To Be Alone is mindful, mournful and soulful. The films are polar opposites on the emotional scale, but both are powerful in their own rights.
        This film is overflowing with symbolism, but as I said in the beginning, the one phrase that sticks with me after each viewing is that it’s his cross to bear. I’m not sure if Mahler had that in mind while making this film, but it’s both figurative and literal throughout.
To Be Alone is a deep and melancholy look into one man’s soul as he navigates the uneasy question of what to do next after his wife dies. As you watch and the pieces begin to fit together an intentional heaviness comes over you. That so much raw emotion can be packed in to a film of only 12 minutes is a testament to the skill and craftiness of Mahler, and one that I truly hope he holds onto throughout his career.

To Be Alone is not rated, was written and directed by Matthew Mahler and stars Timothy J. Cox. More information about Mahler, Cox and the film itself can be found here:

  • Matthew Mahler on IMDB
  • Timothy J. Cox on IMDB