Once Beautiful Woman – By Frankie Guerrero Jr – Short Film Review

Once Beautiful Woman is a depressing glimpse into an aging female actor’s life through the lens of a mix-up at an audition, as the film questions the ideals of female conventional beauty and age, through wonderful directing and a brilliant performance.

Once Beautiful Women - Short Film Review

Frankie Guerrero Jr takes the audience through a hilarious, quirky, and poignant look into female beauty standards and ageism and sexism within Hollywood. Starting with Grace Green (Victoria Vertuga) staring at an apple or snickers bar in her fridge when a call from her pushy and downright rude agent Paulina (Jodie Bentley) chastises her for eating at all. 

Once Beautiful Woman

Better put down the apple, Grace’s got an audition. Small part, big studio feature. Grace is happy that the sides for the audition describe her as a “Beautiful woman”. A bit of pride to add to the actresses’ day that she is called in for this role, but as we all know, but as we all know, pride comes before the fall. 

Without giving away too much of the plot, things don’t exactly go to plan at the casting, and we see the results of the titular label and its effect on ego. 

Once Beautiful Women - Short Film Review

Guerrero balances the comedic and tragic tones masterfully.  Handling such shifts is hard to do with such a short run-time, but he manages to switch from comedy, drama, glow-up (or is it a glow-down?) to tragedy. The film left me wanting more and the post-credit shot is heart-breaking. 

The dialogue is beautifully short and snappy. Many of the supporting actors have few lines, but their judgment cuts right to the core as we see the evolution of Grace from a proud woman taken down a peg, and then doing whatever she needs to get the job done. 

One vulgar line sticks out that Vertuga delivers brilliantly in the casting, that really nailed the degrading and shameful nature of parts for older female actors and the end of Grace’s character arc. Another actress worth mentioning is Maya Zapata, who’s side-eye looks ranging from judgment to a lack of recognition had me cringing, laughing, and added to the empathy I felt for Grace. We, like the casting room, were judging Grace. But only we, the audience, see the effect of that judgment. 

Once Beautiful Women - Short Film Review

What really lends itself to the tense momentum of the film is the score also by Frankie Guerrero Jr. The quirky music at the start is contrasted with the slightly tense and comedic music of the casting offices, which is also contrasted with the fierce montage in the bathroom. The casting office feels like a battle scene. 

All being said, Once Beautiful Woman was a hilarious, poignant short film that tackles female ageism and sexism and showing the harsh realities faced by many middle-aged actresses. 

Once Beautiful Women - Short Film Review

We very much look forward to seeing where director Frankie Guerrero Jr & star Victoria Vertuga go next!



Keep Up With The Project, as Well As The Promising Futures of Victoria Vertuga & Frankie Guerrero Jr