LIKENESS Film Review 2024: A Compelling Flick About a Compelling Contemporary Issue

Premiered today, Monday, February 26 on the YouTube channel Omeleto.


This reviewer regards LIKENESS, written and directed by David A. Flores, as a shimmering work-in-progress, almost-finished-final-draft for a promising feature-length film –– even though it’s been getting considerable attention since it popped up on the cinematic stage in 2023 as a 14-minute film short on the film short festival circuit.

Don’t get me wrong. The short is a hoot about a young woman using an Artificial Intelligence site to help her find her mom when she comes to be believe the police authorities are not doing a decent job finding her mom. The smartly crafted opening scenes of LIKENESS shows the forensically detective AI program I gobbling up digital content about Kaitlin’s mom from social media accounts and other archival platforms that mom used, resulting in an uncanny, spitting image videographic apparition of Kaitlin’s mom. And the way the two interact is affecting.

LIKENESS 2023 – Kaitlin played Mary Rose Branick

What may at first look like a sci-fi movie is really an affective human interest story wrapped in the cinematic trappings about one of the most topics of the century. Writer-Director David Flores’ timing couldn’t be better. Nevertheless, this reviewer has to add this info: Artificial intelligence applies computer science and robust datasets to problem-solving, aided by machine learning and deep learning. The applications for the technology are growing, but not without controversy over issues such as accuracy, misinformation and ethics.

Based on numerous interviews with directors, producers and filmmakers over the years, this reviewer learned this about 4-and-5-star film shorts of this caliber: They are generally used for industry experience and as a platform to showcase talent to secure funding for future projects from private investors, a production company, or film studios. They can also be released with feature films, and can also be included as bonus features on some home video releases.

The short will wet cinematic appetites. The feature that this reviewer suspects is in the works seriously could be a mindbender.

Written and Directed by David A. Flores
Produced by Kyle Little
Production Company: Pacific Saguaro
Edited by Andrew Nolan
Director of Photography, Carrie Morgan
Music by Bruce Witkin
Starring Mary Rose Branick and Virginia Newcomb

Pictures, Graphics, Trailer Courtesy of Pacific Saguaro

Instead of hiring a private detective – a Columbo or a Phillip Marlowe – to help her find her mom, Kaitlin, played by Mary Rose Branic, employs an artificial intelligence program to be her gumshoe.

One of the interesting plot features the are jazzy segments when Katilin interacts with the AI-Generated Apparition (played by Virginia Newcomb) as if she is conversing with real mom ­– before snapping back into the reality of the moment that she is not talking to her real mom. There are also moments when it appears that the AI-Apparition is more mom than AI – all of this adding a kind of transcendent, Twilight-Zone-Like feel to LIKENESS.

So, LIKENESS is being pitched as a film short about a young woman who works with an AI version of her mom to find her missing real mom but it is so much more. Director Flores, in a statement, said,  “LIKENESS is a universal story about grief and acceptance. Anyone who has experienced loss can relate to this story.” 

The film stars newcomer (and, according to film publicity, star-in-the-making) Mary Rose Branick and indie gem Virginia Newcomb of A24’s THE DEATH OF DICK LONG, IFC’s THE BETA TEST.

David A. Flores Internet Movie Data Base.

If you need to know more about David A Flores, Click here.

LIKENESS 2024 – Far Left, Writer-Director David A. Flores

Editor, Publisher Gregg W. Morris @,