Life Surely Must Go On At ‘Rhonda’s Party’

‘Rhonda’s Party’ (2010) was directed by Ashley McKenzie, written by Christine Comeau and produced by Nelson MacDonald. Rhonda is an elderly retirement home resident who has organized a 100th birthday party for her friend, Margaret.  Unfortunately, Margaret passes away in her sleep the night before her birthday and the party.  The ward nurse, Amy, is faced with the unpleasant task of informing Rhonda of Margaret’s death. The party’s guests have arrived, as well as a birthday cake and a band. But does the party go on?

Amy (as played by Karine Vanasse) in Rhonda's party. Photo courtesy of Ashley McKenzie

Amy (as played by Karine Vanasse) in ‘Rhonda’s Party’. Photo courtesy of Ashley McKenzie.

Check out the NSI’s link to view the video

In my opinion, the film dealt with the topic of death very well. Everyone handles death differently, and so did our two main characters. I admired Rhonda’s strength in handling her friend’s passing and her decision to attend the birthday party in the end. Amy handled the death with professionalism, yet showing personal compassion for Rhonda. It seemed like Amy needed to see that party happen for everyone. The party presented some brightness and healing to an otherwise dark and sad situation. Amy’s smile on her face showed that the party truly had a positive effect on the residents.

I’ve seen ‘Rhonda’s Party’ on CBC’s Canadian Reflections, as well as Rewind Channel‘s short film show, Homegrown Shorts. You can also catch it on NSI’s Online Short Film Festival. The film has had the distinction of being named as a Top 10 short film by TIFF in 2011, and  won the $50,000 grand prize in CBC’s Short Film Face Off that same year. I also recognize Karine Vanasse, who played Amy, from other Canadian and American film productions.

For more information about the film makers, check out their website:


 (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

 (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)




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