Ms. White Light REVIEW – A Tale Of Death That Slowly Loses Life

Paul Shoulberg's film falls short of being a thoughtful experience.

Ms. White Light
Ms. White Light

The specter of death hangs over us every day. All it takes is one mistake or unfortunate circumstance to end it all. Yet, it’s important to remember that death is as natural as birth. Everyone faces it, everyone experiences it, and – most importantly – everyone learns from it.

Ms. White Light attempts to illuminate this fact. While it has some humbling moments, Paul Shoulberg’s film falls short of being a thoughtful experience. This is unfortunate, because Ms. White Light does have a few powerful scenes.

The film tells the story of Alexis Cordova (Roberta Colindrez), a grief counselor who comforts the dying in their final days. While able to connect with those on their deathbeds, Lex is harsh and bitter towards the living. Cordova’s expertise is put to the test when she meets Val (Judith Light), a cancer patient who’s indifference towards her impending end intrigues Lex. The more she tries to understand Val’s point-of-view, the more Lex comes to terms with life even with all its faults.

Such a concept is very interesting, if not inspiring. Roberta Colindrez gives a good performance as the serious, yet driven, Lex Cordova. All of the performances are carried out quite well, and everyone is suited for their respective roles.

Unfortunately, Ms. White Light misses the mark thanks to flaws in the film’s most crucial aspect – the script itself.

Ms. White Light’s script follows a typical structure – inciting incident, rising action, crisis, resolution, catharsis, etc. The characters are well-rounded and believable to an extent. However, there are numerous pitfalls in the delivery where meaningful moments dissolve into incoherent banter. Actors and actresses frequently appear as if they’re trying to top each other in what seems to be one improv skit after the next, neither defining their characters nor advancing the story.

During one particular scene where Cordova and psychic medium Spencer (Zachary Spicer) are having lunch, Spencer cracks a joke, which he describes as “banter” between two individuals. This is just what the two deliver – banter. What could easily be a discussion about Val, whom they both share a relationship with, becomes an odd discussion of parties, dating, their occupations, how they make people feel happy, and so on. This “banter” drags on for four minutes, where it could easily have been two.

Most of Ms. White Light’s energy appears to be reserved for these blithely incoherent episodes, which have a comedic slant to them. Maybe there’s a naturalistic intention with this method, but it becomes easy to look away from the film when nothing happens beyond mindless talk.

Interspersed among these episodes are seemingly-poignant moments where a character gives an expository monologue about crossing over – or something related. As with the film’s “banter” moments, these monologues come off as filler instead of meaningful pieces. I counted at least four moments like this in the movie, and I quickly lost interest by the second one.

Said flaws give the overall impression that the writing team didn’t know how to get from point A to point B. This is not to say Ms. White Light doesn’t have its strengths, because it does.

Portions of Ms. White Light are indeed passionate and touching. At one point, when reflecting on her obsession with death, Lex explains to Val how it all began when her mother died in a car accident. This gives insight into Lex’s callous nature while allowing for Colindrez to deliver a good performance. After this tidbit, Val gives a brief but profound response, which establishes a wise sage-young squire relationship between the two.

However, this scene is shortly followed up by another banter moment between Cordova and two other characters, ultimately derailing the previous scene’s sincerity.

For its one hour and thirty-four minute run-time, a little trimming could have woven all meaningful moments together. In cutting away unnecessary monologues and cheap shots at humor, Ms. White Light could have made for a very touching film about life and death. Unfortunately, the final cut is here for good.

One can easily survive a viewing of Ms. White Light and still appreciate the good moments. However, it’s easily a film to watch when there’s nothing better to do.

Review screener provided.

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Ms. White Light
With good performances and a decent concept, Ms. White Light seems like it has potential, but it's all wasted on incoherent dialogue and an unclear vision. It's not a horrid watch, but it's not impressive either.