Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 (2016)


“I would probably be a vegetable without it.” – Mindy

Number of Times Seen – 1 (27 Feb 2018)

Brief Synopsis – A woman suffering from multiple mental health issues uses art as a way to help her cope.

My Take on it – This is the 2nd of the 5 nominees for this year’s Oscar Best Animated Short.

The title threw me off completely and I got quite a shock when I realized that the title misleads the viewer into thinking that they are about to see something completely different.

This film has some great interviews with its subject Mindy Alper.

We are able to get a clear sense of who she is and we learn so much about the path of her life.

The camera focuses on her really intimately which tries to help us understand who she is and what she has accomplished over the years despite her illness.

The film conducts its interviews in a really concise and open manner and we learn so much about her troubled life this way.

Mindy is a truly remarkable women based on what she has managed to accomplish.

The biggest problem with this film is that despite the fact that its in a category for short documentaries, it’s still too long and it drags too much along the way.

Had this film been edited a bit better, it might have been able to become more impactful in the story that they are trying to tell us.

Bottom Line – Not as powerful as I expected it to be. The interviews with Mindy are done well because we get a very real sense of who she is through the intimate shots of her. The title of this film is very misleading and I’m not sure why the director chose it since I’m sure there were many other choices that actually would make more sense.  The interviews are conducted quite openly and candidly and we are introduced to a truly remarkable woman, but the film meanders a bit too much along the way.  It might have been more inpactful if it would have been more concise.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Nominated for Best Documentary Short subject at the Academy Awards in 2018 (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (6/10)

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4 thoughts on “Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 (2016)

  1. I loved her art. I’d buy it if I could afford to. The length (40 minutes) didn’t bother me a bit because I found Mindy to be a fascinating subject. The title fascinated me as well – and it starts with her in her car saying just that. To each his or her own. She’s able to find solace and peace stuck in a traffic jam, so be it. I lived in LA for 22 years and was in a few – and that was decidedly NOT my reaction. But if that recharges her creative batteries – whatever works. I keep a full drum kit in my office – and when I need a break – I play Wipe Out. Her struggles – the stories about her father – the way her sketches said so much and brought that torment to life with a few line strokes – was amazing to me. This would be in my Top 2.

    Liked by 1 person

      • As a follow up – I was sent an interview with the filmmaker on this one (by another Oscar nominee in this category) talking about how it began as a feature. The original cut was over 80 minutes – and he got it down into the low 40s and decided to go for 40 even. He was also fascinated by Mindy (I think he was in an art class with her) and he said that her problems were myriad and her depression manifested itself often – and without her mother – he wasn’t sure how she’d get on with her life. Also – since the filming ended on this documentary – she hasn’t produced a single piece of art. She has apparently given up on sketching and papier mache and is doing some wood cutting. Not sure what pieces (if any) sold in the art show depicted – the giant head of her therapist was unsold – and he wasn’t sure if she was taking a break or in some new manic stage. It made me sad.

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  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 2016 |

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