• Country: United States
  • Initial release: May 28, 2012
  • Film Director: Shawn Christensen
  • Running Time: 19 Minutes
  • IMDB Grade: 7.8

In 2012, writer and director Shawn Christensen created a powerful and emotionally charged short film called “Curfew.” This gripping drama explores the depths of human despair and the transformative power of unexpected connections. Through the story of Richie, a suicidal man, and his niece Sophia, “Curfew” takes viewers on a journey of redemption and hope. In this article, we will delve into the themes, narrative structure, and impact of this Academy Award-winning short film.

The Story of Despair and Redemption

“Curfew” follows the life of Richie, a man on the brink of ending his own life, as he receives a phone call from his estranged sister, Maggie. Desperate and in dire straits, Maggie asks Richie to look after Sophia, his eleven-year-old niece, for a few hours. Reluctantly, Richie cancels his plans and agrees to spend the evening with Sophia.

As the night unfolds, Richie and Sophia embark on a series of adventures, revealing the deep connection between two troubled souls. Through their interactions, Richie begins to see the world through Sophia’s innocent and hopeful eyes, discovering a renewed sense of purpose and a chance at redemption.

Exploring Mental Health and Human Relationships

One of the central themes of “Curfew” is the exploration of mental health and its impact on human relationships. Richie’s character represents the depths of despair and the struggle with suicidal thoughts. His journey throughout the film highlights the importance of human connection in times of darkness and despair.

By placing Richie in the role of a caregiver to Sophia, the film suggests that caring for others can bring meaning and purpose to one’s life. The bond that forms between Richie and Sophia showcases the transformative power of compassion and understanding.

The Narrative Structure and Cinematic Influences

Shawn Christensen masterfully constructs the narrative structure of “Curfew” to engage and captivate the audience. The film opens with a scene of Richie contemplating suicide, immediately drawing viewers into his emotional turmoil. From there, the story unfolds in a linear fashion, with flashbacks providing insight into Richie’s past and the reasons behind his despair.

The cinematography of “Curfew” is both purposeful and cinematic, utilizing wide anamorphic lenses and shallow depth of field to create a dreamlike visual experience. The use of symbolic imagery, such as oval-shaped out-of-focus light sources, adds to the film’s overall atmospheric and introspective tone.

Awards and Recognition

“Curfew” garnered critical acclaim and received numerous awards, including the prestigious Academy Award for Best Short Film in 2013. The film’s success led to the development of a feature-length version, titled “Before I Disappear,” which was released in 2014.


“Curfew” is a thought-provoking and emotionally charged drama that explores the depths of human despair and the power of connection. Through the characters of Richie and Sophia, Shawn Christensen takes viewers on a journey of redemption and hope. The film’s exploration of mental health, its narrative structure, and its cinematic influences make it a compelling and impactful piece of storytelling.

If you’re looking for a short film that delves into the complexities of the human experience and leaves a lasting impression, “Curfew” is a must-watch. Its powerful performances, compelling narrative, and visually stunning cinematography make it a standout work in the world of independent cinema.

So, grab a bowl of popcorn and prepare to be captivated by the gripping tale of “Curfew.”

1 Film Review

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  • The cinematography of “Curfew” is both intentional and true to life, using wide anamorphic focal points and shallow profundity of field to make a fanciful visual encounter. The utilization of representative symbolism, for example, oval-molded out-of-shine light sources, adds to the film’s in general environmental and reflective tone.