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SXSW 2019: “It’s Not Custard” Review

“It’s Not Custard” is a film from the UK that had its U.S. premiere in the Midnight Shorts Program at SXSW on March 9. Written and directed by Kate McCoid, the short comes in at just over six minutes, making it short and sweet.

So what’s it about? Louise (Charlotte Luxford) is a teenager who is suffering from that oh-so-common teen experience: acne. She’s a laughingstock at school, and her clear-faced older sister Jennifer (Kate Leiper) relentlessly mocks her. But don’t worry — she’ll get her revenge.

There’s such a great little story packed into the run time of “It’s Not Custard.” There’s a narrator (Donal Cox), which makes it feel like a throwback or a fairy tale; you just feel that it’s different from other modern movies while watching it. And, along with the physical comedy that the cast delivers, the narrator makes this short hilarious.

Something you might not expect to be a strong point of this film, or at least a noticeable one, is the set decoration, makeup and special effects. All three of these aspects contribute to the feeling that you’re in a real world (with some admittedly surreal attributes).

It’s a really well-done film, which makes it all the more impressive that McCoid is a first-time writer/director. She has a background in film editing (including “Edge of Tomorrow” and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”) and visual effects (including the upcoming “Pokémon Detective Pikachu”). Knowing that, it’s less surprising that the film’s visuals were so spot-on.

“It’s Not Custard” has two more screenings at SXSW this year: one on March 14 at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz downtown and the final showing on March 16 at the Alamo Drafthouse on S. Lamar Boulevard.

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