Written and Directed by James Bird
Starring Adriana Mather and Zach Villa
Cancer. Immediately, sadness overcomes you with the mere mention of this word. And for a mother to hear that her daughter has this disease must be an absolute nightmare. But what happens when that daughter is a young adult and she decides to live and fight in her own way? HONEYGLUE opens our eyes to life and how we live it, how we find solace. and how we look at others.
Morgan (Adriana Mather) is a typical young woman living at home with her typical mom and dad and little brother. What is not typical, is the fact that she continues to fight a losing battle with cancer. Morgan accepts the fact that she has only three months to live and her new and unique relationship with a cross-dressing young man, Jordan (Zach Villa), with identity issues helps her in this difficult and final journey.
“Honeyglue” tackles life changing issues such as a child’s immanent death, cancer, and letting go. At the forefront of this film is acceptance, not just of this disease, but of other’s differences. Diversity and individuality are seen in a beautiful and glowing, but realistic way. Weaving the animated story of a bee and a dragonfly into this tale, delivers a powerful message about love and acceptance. This unusual couple, Jordan and Morgan, parallel this animated tale seamlessly.
Mather skillfully portrays the quickly declining cancer patient with grace and beauty. Behind her withering frame, there is strength and determination that is motivating. She is able to elicit empathy from the viewer with subtle nuances of expressions and her voice. This talented young woman shines in the shadow of death. Villa’s performance as the cross-dressing, gender non-specific love in Morgan’s life is simply stellar. He appears to completely identify with Jordan’s role giving you an emotional roller coaster ride, bouncing quickly from anger to love to devastation in a heartbeat— all justifiably so. This multi-layered personality was peeled away beautifully and artistically for the viewer to really understand this character. Villa’s exceptional talent allows you to not only understand, but to accept and admire him.
“Honeyglue” is beautifully written as it addresses topics that are difficult to talk about let alone portray on the screen. The realistic dialogue is augmented skillfully with an imaginatively animated story creating an entertaining and endearing story about love. This is life. It’s not always pretty and it’s not always easy, but this film reminds us to find the best in what we have and what we are given. Live life to the fullest and embrace every moment is one of the many positive messages. Yes, “cancer” is still a very upsetting term and this film is sad, but it is also encouraging and life-affirming. The strength behind the writing, directing and remarkably talented main characters allows the audience to take these lessons to heart.
“Honeyglue” is one of those unique films that dares to not be a Hollywood story nor does is want to be. It’s different and it welcomes those differences with wide open arms. “Honeyglue” is at the very core a story of love, acceptance, and living. It’ll open your eyes and just might make a difference in how you live your life. Now, that’s a gem of a film!