As High As The Sky
As High As The Sky is an excellent demonstration of our ability to adapt to changes in life, as well as the importance of forgiveness.
As High As The Sky felt like it was a personal sentimental film from writer and director Nikki Braendlin. Lead by an all-female cast, As High As The Sky is about the relationship of two estranged sisters who share nothing in common except for simply being related. And while the broad focus of the film is about the sister relationship, the film is ultimately about self-discovery. The message this is a small indie film articulates is, even though you cannot choose your family, in the end they are all that matter.
As Margaret (Caroline Fogarty) wonders her house obsessively nudging decorations and pillows ever so slightly back to their correct position, her answering machine goes off with her two Aunt’s voices in the background. Her overbearing Aunts have served as her parents since Margaret was four, when her biological parents passed away from a car accident. But the reason why Margaret is mourning today is because her relationship with her fiancé has recently ended. The last thing she cares to do at the moment is be around people, but she is not given that luxury when her older sister Josephine (Bonnie McNeil) and her ten year-old daughter Hannah (Laurel Porter) show up at her house unexpectedly.
Margaret and her sister could not be more different. Josephine is spontaneous and outgoing whereas Margaret takes more of a systematic approach and is much more reserved than her sister. Josephine believes their differences steam from the fact they were raised so differently, as she was seventeen when her parents died while Margaret was almost completely raised by their imperious Aunts. Her theory seems to carry a lot of weight, especially when it is acknowledged that Josephine was a surprise baby and that Margaret was a planned one, which accompaniments their personalities spot on.
It is apparent that Margaret and her sister are not very close as Josephine was not even aware that her sister was no longer together with Matthew. It is not revealed right away as to why Josephine suddenly just shows up with her young daughter, you are to assume it is just because of her impulsive personality. Margaret eventually discovers the true reason of why her sister came, which ends up hitting her on numerous levels of emotion.
One of the best features of the film was how wonderful the cinematography was. The director of photography Tarin Anderson carefully shot As High As The Sky using a lot of deliberate framing; which pairs perfectly to Margaret’s personality, neat and particular. The modern-minimalistic design tastes of Margaret’s home décor matches the sterile kind of environment you would expect someone who is obsessive-compulsive to live in. Because the large majority of the film was shot in her home, it was almost as she was emotionally trapped in her own house. It is not until Margaret leaves the house that she opens up and becomes free.
There are a few minor details that the audience must overlook in order for the story to work, such as when Josephine leaves her child with Margaret for a couple days without giving any reason. Later it is revealed why she leaves, but at the time these characters comply without questioning. These are fairly minor issues so as long as the audience complies like the characters do, everything does resolve into place by the end. Still, As High As The Sky is an excellent demonstration of our ability to adapt to changes in life, as well as the importance of forgiveness.