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And The Heavens Must Have Cried

Written by: Hannah Howzdy |   Directed by: James Camali |  Genre: Drama

 A group of young women is having fun on the beach as an old song plays in the background. Laughter, fun times, and the best of friends… family even. This hardly sounds like the roots of a nightmare in waiting but is actually just that. The women in question are members of the Charles Manson cult, and the man himself is omnipresent. And The Heavens Must Have Cried is a story about life before the group made gruesome headlines. And it’s a short film, so there’s not even a lot of time commitment to make. But take note. This short film may not be all that long, but it sure packs a wallop. A big one.

 Although we see the group here, including Charles Manson (Nathan Wallace) himself, the film is more focused on Susan (Hannah Howzdy) and her personal connection to Charles Manson. This is all presented as Susan telling her story and narrating the film as she listens to an old vinyl record she recorded for Charlie. She recalls how he made her feel and how he made everyone feel. A special care has been taken to showcase this story through not only Susan’s eyes but also the eyes of time. Except for a few flashes here and there, this isn’t a violent film but instead focuses on the humanity of the characters.

 But even though we see an often lighter side of the Manson family, the seeds of reality are still visible for any who are looking for them. Including the occasional reference of “Godly” when talking about Charles. And The Heavens Must Have Cried isn’t a thriller or horror film, but I could easily see how it could have been. I also want to point out that the acting in this low-budget indie film is pretty damn good. The characters feel like they could have been the real people, caught on camera.

 And The Heavens Must Have Cried is slightly eerie and a little haunting. Even if you don’t know the stories of Manson and his followers, this film makes things pretty clear. It was a pleasure to get to watch this movie, and I have no problem awarding it four and a half stars. It really was that good. Thank you for reading.

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