The 2019 Academy Award nominated live action short films were a heavy, serious batch, filled with violence, panic, crime, fear, suspense, and death. (If anything this was even more true of the five nominees in the documentary short film category.) Subjects included a lost or abandoned child in a situation of potentially extreme danger, child playmates finding themselves unexpectedly at risk of death, elementary school age children who murder a toddler, and extreme race-based violence.
The one exception—not in the sense of being a comedy, but in the sense of being a more soft, gentle, human story—was Marguerite.
A 19-minute Canadian film, Marguerite takes place in the home of an elderly woman during visits from her caregiver or in-home nurse.
The old lady seems rather a kind-hearted, quiet type. When she finds out her nurse has a lesbian girlfriend, she’s a bit startled, though not disapproving. It sets her off thinking about her own past. Ultimately she hesitantly shares with her nurse that, “I loved a woman once too,” though she could never act on it, and perhaps back then didn’t even fully realize and analyze what she was feeling. “It was a different time,” she notes, which is explanation enough.
Marguerite is not a film for those who are grossed out by elderly bodies (or for anyone still bothered by open talk of homosexuality I suppose). The care the nurse provides is of a personal nature, including massage, applying lotion, etc. The old woman’s body is not eroticized in a pornographic way, but it’s presented quite openly and frankly, simply as the reality that this is what we ultimately become physically. It asks us not to hide from that, which I found to be refreshing in its way.
There’s minimal storyline to this one; it’s just a simple, dignified tale about a moment of bonding between two women.