EUFF 2016 Review: “Family Member” (2016) ★★★★


Can you imagine for a second that living in the contemporary world someone can hide the death of their family member to stay financially afloat? Unfortunately, what had been described and told delicately and honestly in Family Member is an unfortunate reality of many people, whose, I am afraid number keeps growing even in the old and full of pride Europe.

Yorgos and Sophia barely survive financially. Their children demand more. Their clients that visit their little convenience store can’t afford paying, so the kind and generous Yorgos gives them extra time to be able to pay their debt to the store. However, their mortgage payment is due soon, electricity bill is high every day and it’s a dark time for the family when they start cutting out the expenses of the family to make their end meets. For that, Sophia’s father’s pension is of great help. But one day she finds him dead in his bed. But instead of calling an ambulance, the woman decides to hide the fact of his deceased father to continue collecting his pension from the government.

“If they find out he’s dead, they will cancel the pension…” says Sophia to her husband, when he asks why she refused to report his death. However, while the things were going smoothly and according to the plan, social security suddenly decides to talk with her father. While the couple were thinking how to solve the situation and not get caught, help comes in the face of Theodoros, who agrees to help them in their fraud, but for his own reasons.

As the story unfolds, an unlikable character such as Sophia turns into an angel when she realizes the pain and difficulties an old man goes through every day, when she starts treating him as a family member. While she finds out more about his past and reasons for living alone, the bond between her, her family and Theodoros grows stronger as they start caring more about his health, rather the benefits that his presence brings to their family.

Family Member is an excellent family drama written and directed by Marinos Kartikkis. In his film he offers a delicate and subtle look what an average family in Cyprus has to go through on a daily basis. The character development is truly brilliant. The performance of the cast, especially the one that is delivered by Yiola Klitou as Sophia is scarily convincing. The way Sophia, through Klitou’s performances, handles the death of her father, it might remind you of the look of a cold-blooded criminal whose plan is so perfect that there will be no reason left to be caught by authority. In case if you come across this film somewhere nearby, do not miss a chance and watch it, as I am sure you will be delighted by how powerful this drama is.

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