Written and directed by Matt Morris, Rob (Travis Mitchell) a grieving father, is revisited by his deceased son Daniel (Malik Uhuru) through a mysterious program. When Daniel makes a devastating request, Rob must push himself to do the unthinkable.
Partitioned Heart plays its cards close to the chest in its initial moments, we see a part of a conversation and Rob handling the packing of his late son’s belongings, it adds a touch of mystery and introduces the theme of grief without having to dive straight into the emotional side. It’s a nice humble and natural lead into the much more sci-fi themed story, introducing the idea of his late son’s consciousness being uploaded to his computer. There’s no real explanation of Daniel’s job or what field he was working in to add some context to how he achieved something of that calibre, there’s also nothing to say definitively that the occurrence was unintentional or accidental so it remains a mystery. It’s a clever concept to make the most out of a small budget and time frame, further context isn’t necessarily needed and the story only requires one character to be physically onscreen and can take place entirely in one room, which was well thought out.
With a cast of only two, it really rested on Travis Mitchell’s performance as Rob and he does a solid job, the emotions he brings to the table feel genuine and come across clearly without going over the top or overly dramatic. While Malik Uhuru may not physically appear on screen, that’s perhaps more of a challenge to get across the emotion without being able to physically express it and he executes it extremely well, it’s relatable and just slightly pulls back on the emotion to reflect his transcended situation. Although it doesn’t need that context of how Daniel came to have his conscious transferred to his computer, there are moments where the dialogue feels a little too simple and could have used a bit more detail, for instance a discussion about ‘deleting’ him which basically just describes how you would delete a file with any computer. It needed to have a more complicated or developed story to it, considering you’re talking about extremely advanced technology, which let it down slightly.
The whole film takes in that sci-fi concept but keeps it fairly minimal, focusing instead on the drama of a father having to say goodbye to his son, the whole idea is a great metaphor for having to let go of a loved one when they’re in pain. It deals with the idea of euthanasia but in a much more refined and simple way, that avoids falling into the trap of being overly dramatic or uncomfortably sentimental. It has a few elements that could have been expanded or improved and though the initial moments add a little mystery, in the end they might have been better used to give more time to the interaction between Rob and Daniel, to delve a little deeper into their relationship and how they got to that moment.