A pandemic story without exclusively being as such, Everything Will Be Alright has an everyman-type quality to it in how it presents the dilemmas the Coronavirus inflicted upon the world. Director Farhard Pakdel fuses his narrative with a heightened sense of drama though, injecting a potentially triggering additive that further highlights how people’s realities were unexpectedly shattered when the virus shut the world down.
Leila, a young teacher in Montreal (played to emotional perfection by Nahéma Ricci), learns early on in Pakdel’s 16-minute short that her father has fallen ill in her native Middle East. Evidently set in the early stages of the pandemic – March 2020, the last normal month we were to experience as a universal group – where restrictions on travel and the notions of large groups were starting to take shape, the urgency of how she responds to such news proves Leila’s first personal hurdle.
As the story unfolds so too does another of Leila’s personal appointments. The suggestive comments from those she interacts with and the specific shooting angle of her character organically fall into place when she’s constantly questioned about the necessity to travel. It’s a further emotional hit to a film that’s already seeping with psychological affectation.
Bleak as Everything Will Be Alright may be, there’s a certain hopefulness in the irony of its title. The open ending and the simplistic beauty of one of its closing lines (“Spring is unpredictable”) speaks to the determined mentality that so many adhered to over the last two years. Pakdel has found the importance in everything that’s left unsaid as much as what’s explicitly stated, creating a genuinely soul-stirring film that we can somehow all relate to despite the very specific plight of its central character.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Everything Will Be Alright is screening as part of this year’s SXSW Film Festival, which is being presented in-person and virtually between March 11th and 20th, 2022. For more information head to the official SXSW website.