The Karman Line (2014)


Film review of the 2014 short film The Karman Line starring Olivia Colman and directed by Oscar Sharp.

Director: Oscar Sharp. Believe/Fortune Films.


4stars-Very good lots to enjoy 1


Cast & credits

Producers: Phil Barnes, Campbell Beaton, Tiernan Hanby, Max McGill.
Writer: Dawn King.
Camera: Robbie Ryan.
Music: Bjarni Biering.
Sets: Jerry Bland.

Olivia Colman, Shaun Dooley, Chelsea Corfield, David Cann, Julia Watson.


Sarah (Colman) is a normal, suburban housewife with an uppity teenage daughter (Cornfield) and husband (Dooley). Their lives are turned upside down when she suddenly and inexplicably starts to rise from the ground, confounding her doctors. As she faces life in the stratosphere, Sarah and her family must come to terms with the inevitably of her death.


Director Sharp and his team scooped the Best Short Film prize at the British Independent Film Awards in 2014 and received a BAFTA nomination for best short for this clever and genuinely moving musing on the acceptance of death following an incurable medical condition.

Sharp drew on his own experiences when his mother (to whom the film is dedicated) was diagnosed with cancer a disease that she successfully battled (she accompanied her son to the recent BAFTA ceremony).

Death is a grimly tricky subject to talk about either in real life or in film but the use of an admittedly ridiculous metaphor helps to alleviate the downbeat seriousness of the matter with some comic observations (the sleeping arrangements for someone floating in the air) and moments that should be unintentionally hilarious but are handled so tactfully and with care that they are acutely observed (Colman and her husband making love, with him on a chair and on top-toes).

It helps that Sharp has an intelligent actress in Colman, who always effortlessly convinces when playing everyday characters facing extraordinary situations. With her ability to reduce you to tears and make you smile in equal measure, the film feels even more unique and its difficult not to feel elated when she finally lets go to enter the Karman Line of the title.

Special mention too must go to the ingenious effects team who approach the task of making us believe Colman really is floating in the sky with considerable, unpretentious skill.


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