Review: Fix Me
Woonyea Han delights the screen with her nuanced performance in Fix Me, a short film about a woman who goes to a shoe repair store after she finds both her figurative soul and literal sole need mending post-breakup. She has a subtle pain in her performance that feels real and nuanced. Her wonder in the shoe shop and relaxation on screen resonates. She owns her space, and we are able to understand what she is feeling through her actions.
Her co-star, the shoe mender made friend (Slate Holtsclaw) also has a warm, inviting nature to his performance. Contranstingly, his younger self (Marius Biegai) played in flashback has a more dramatic, demanding role. Biegai plays a mute with angst. He adds an honest and relatable energy, effectively drawing sympathy. The only moment when the performance called attention to itself was during his crying stint in bed where Biegai looked possibly uncomfortable during his performance.
Han did a great job giving the boy business to keep him feeling natural. He played with toys, looked at a shoe model while his mom was busy talking to a shoe mender. He is curious as most children are, and it’s believable.
Regarding the supporting characters, at times the parent’s performances may have been bordering on melodramatic, but generally the boy and the mother’s relationship played in a grounded manner (for example, when the boy drops the shoe in the shop, the mother feels like the universal type-A one who would reprimand their child). Like the modern-day shoe mender, the old shoe mender has a timeless charm that felt intentional and played into the escapist nature of the short itself.
Han’s ability to mesh new and old along with classic dramatic performances with nuanced, modern ones offers this short a unique flavor. The differences added texture and aided the playful style of the piece. They also highlighted the fact that both Woonyea’s character and the shoemender’s character come from different backgrounds - both culturally and personally.