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Hard Truths (2023)

Written by Kyle Bain

When a young model, Hope Harmon (Paige Hoover), waits on the results of an opportunity of a lifetime, it falls on the shoulders of her long-time agent, Peter Gibeny (Timothy J. Cox), to share the news. Her future now hangs in the balance, what Hard Truths does Peter have for his client?

I found myself troubled by the sound throughout Hard Truths. After a lengthy conversation between Peter and Hope regarding those titular hard truths, Hope exits the room. In that moment, the only thing that viewers can hear are her shoes squeaking, and the tension that was brilliantly developed up to that point, particularly as a result of Hoover and Cox, falters. This isn’t the only instance of issues regarding the sound. The team struggles to find a balance when it comes to the level of noise present throughout the course of Hard Truths. Sometimes actors come in too loud, other times full conversations are muffled and quiet. There doesn’t seem to be any correlation between how loud something is and its relevance or intensity. I have to chalk this up as an oversight, and it’s one that makes moments in the film quite challenging. 

With that being said, Hard Truths does a wonderful job elsewhere. Director Maya Ahmed and Writers Thomas Angeletti, Cox, and Hoover find ways to tell this story that, beyond the use of sound, allows it to shine so brightly. The thing in particular that I love so dearly about this film is how it is bookended by Peter in his car. It beautifully represents a lack of progression throughout his and Hope’s story. By sending the viewers out in the (almost) same situation as we are brought into the story, viewers are able to understand Peter’s point of view in a way that I’m not sure we would have been able to otherwise. Hard Truths balances something that is both complete and incomplete (in the best ways) at the same time. The team behind this film does a spectacular job of opening the film up to each and every one of its viewers–and it’s these bookending scenes that play a significant role in making that possible. 

Furthermore, Hard Truths is told through a wide arrangement of shots. While the film is primarily shot in close up–the fact of the matter is that Ahmed uses exactly the right shot at exactly the right time to tell this story. We are pulled in close throughout the majority of Hard Truths, and, like those aforementioned scenes, we are able to dive into the film. We see and feel Hope’s journey, and her passion and pain resonates with us. 

Hard Truths is a snippet of reality that bleeds into the rest of human existence–far beyond its own story. Sure, the short film is, on the surface, about a young model trying to make it big in a challenging and incredibly competitive profession. However, Hard Truths dabbles in aspects of all other walks of life–truly making this a film for all people. It’s impossible to overlook the hiccup that manages to transcend much of the film–but the good far outweighs the bad, and Hard Truths is a touching tribute to the best and worst of humankind. 

Directed by Maya Ahmed. 

Written by Thomas Angeletti, Timothy J. Cox, & Paige Hoover. 

Starring Paige Hoover, Timothy J. Cox, Joy Kapp, Ira Cross, & Patrick Johnston.




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