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Tamara Braun has etched a devastating portrait of a grieving mother as Kim struggles with the fresh loss of her only child, Oscar.

Kim and Drew returned to her room after scattering Oscar’s ashes at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Heavy-hearted and physically spent, she was wistful as she tried to describe the feeling of watching his ashes float away, wincing slightly as she copped to feeling “out of it.” Soon, she fainted. She came to in bed, disoriented and weak. Drew explained that they were in Tanzania, for Oscar. She brightened, a warm smile spreading across her face. “Oscar’s here?” But relief was fleeting, and Braun contorted her face in agony as the bitter truth penetrated Kim’s altitude sickness (“Oscar’s gone”). Then she sat up, stroking Drew’s shoulder, her tone soothing and calm. The camera showed what she was seeing: Oscar’s face, not Drew’s. She gazed at him radiantly, as though her heart was about to burst, so healing to her soul was the sight of him. She squeezed him tightly, breathing him in, peaceful and happy for the first time in months.

Drew let her talk, and in a meandering, medicated monologue, Kim expressed her regret over not having told Drew about his son sooner, her voice quivering as she placed her hand on her chest and told “Oscar”, “You deserved more of a family than I gave you.” Leaning in close, her voice dropped to a whisper, bracing herself for his response as she asked, “Can you ever forgive me?” As Oscar, Drew offered reassurance, and Braun’s eyes searched his, tears of relief and remorse flooding down her face.

Braun’s ability to capture the purity of a mother’s love is what has made her depiction of the magnitude of Kim’s sorrow so stirring. In these short scenes, she channeled both with poignancy and precision.

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