“Half-Life” looks at a precocious boy and his sister who use imaginative powers to break away from their miserable home life. They want to reinvent their world. The film looks at multiculturalism and human angst at present and this is an amazingly well crafted film. The basic themes of a family falling apart, personal and sexual identity and religion are considered. Jennifer Phang, the director and screenwriter is a new talent and she is original to the definition of the word.
Set in the near future in a suburban neighborhood of northern California, we meet an Asian-American family that is in the midst of stress. The mother, Saura (Julia Nickson) is single and raising a daughter, Pam (Sanoe Lake) and a son, Timothy (Alexander Agate). She has a new live in lover, Wendell (Ben Redgrave), who is young and he takes some interest in her daughter. Pam, however, has her heart set for her neighbor, Scott (Leonardo Nam) who has recently discovered that he is gay. Scott’s parents are fundamentalist Christians and he is having an affair with a black teacher (Lee Marks).
Filled with dark humor, there is a great deal of pain and anguish in this film. Aside form the familial troubles; the world is experiencing global decay. The film is shot from the perspective of a child; there is interspersion of animation and real film. The dynamics move fast and the entire idea is interesting and the acting is above average throughout.