Review: ‘The Bridge Partner’ is Fantastic and Disturbing

Adapted from the award-winning short story by Peter S. Beagle, The Bridge Partner is a psychological thriller centered around Mattie Whalen, a timid housewife and member of a local bridge team. Mattie’s never been very good, but her luck changes when a sophisticated new member becomes her new partner. It seems like Mattie’s luck might’ve changed, when suddenly Olivia threatens her life. Mattie is thrust into a struggle for her life, and for her own sanity.

A fantastic and disturbing film, The Bridge Partner says a great deal about trust, and what inspires terror. All throughout the film a struggle is taking place within Mattie’s mind not only to escape Olivia’s malevolence to determine whether the danger she fears is even real. This inner conflict is only made more troublesome by the fact that she has a hard time expressing her true feelings to others, out of fear of what they might say. The film also features the tense psychological battle between Olivia and Mattie. The game of cat and mouse these two characters engage in is like watching a battle between two opposing lifestyles. Although both women are past their primes, they choose to go about life in very different ways, Mattie being simple, complacent, and kind, Olivia being mysterious, dignified, and assertive. Engaging each other in a game much more dangerous than Bridge, their duel ends up changing not only Mattie, Olivia as well.

Directed and adapted by Gabriel OlsonThe Bridge Partner is based on the noir-ish short story by Hugo Award-winning fantasist Peter S. Beagle (“The Last Unicorn”) and features a cameo by the author. It premiered on March 7th, 2015 and has played 40 festivals worldwide including RaindancePalm Springs ShortfestComic Con Int. Indy Film festival in San Diego, and the Catalina Film Festival.

Among its accolades are Best Horror / Suspense at Comic Con Int. Indy Film festival in San Diego, the Wes Craven Best Horror Film Award at Catalina, Audience Award at DC Shorts, and Best Horror Film at Winter Film awards. It stars prolific character actor Beth Grant (No Country for Old MenDonnie Darko) as housewife Mattie Whalen, four-time Emmy nominee Sharon Lawrence (NYPD BlueDesperate Housewives) as her bridge partner/stalker Olivia Korhonen, and Oscar nominee Robert Forster (The DescendantsJackie Brown) as her dismissive husband Don Whalen.