EXIT, directed by Claire Edmondson, is a bare-bones tale of suffering, love, and leaving this world on one’s own terms. This short film packs quite a punch into just a few scenes, a testament to the strong visual storytelling at work here by Edmondson and her performers.

Everything seems fairly commonplace at the beginning of the film. A mother (Maria Bello) visits with her daughter and the two exchange some stories and questions. We start to get an idea about the underlying theme of the film even here, but it comes into full view after the daughter leaves and all of the artifice melts away now that there’s no need for entertaining and putting up appearances.

After this reveal, the film loses a lot of its intrigue. Things are explained heavily, and frankly most of it comes off as entirely unnecessary. Once the “big reveal” has occurred, the majority of the audience understands where the story is going. So much hand-holding slightly squanders the good will that the film earns in its earlier, more cinematic moments.

Overall, EXIT does a fair amount well. There’s clear talent on both sides of the camera, but there are a few too many missteps near the end.