• TV-PG
  • 2011
  • 14 min
  • 7.6  (118)

The Telegram Man is a 2011 Australian short film that packs a punch with its poignant yet powerful storytelling. Focused on the post-war era, the movie manages to bring out the plights of people who had lost their loved ones and the efforts of the letter delivery service staff who tirelessly worked to bring news from the government to the families with utmost care and sensitivity.

The central character of the movie is Tom (played by Jack Thompson), who is a veteran telegram messenger in a small town in Western Australia. The movie opens with Tom collecting his telegram messages from the nearest telegraph office, and then he heads out to deliver the letters. The town is immersed in excitement as news of the end of World War II has just arrived, and Tom is expected to deliver the happy news to many households.

From the onset itself, Jack Thompson's nuanced portrayal of the weary but decent messenger is evident; the solitude of the job has made him an introvert, but at the same time, his empathy with the families who receive the telegrams is truly heartwarming. His simple job of delivering messages to families undergoes a shift when he encounters Sarah (played by Sigrid Thornton), a young war widow, in the first house where he stopped.

Sarah's husband was a soldier, and his death in the war had left her heartbroken and alone with a newborn child. This encounter with Sarah changes Tom's perspective on his job, and the following few deliveries unravel the harsh realities of families who had lost their loved ones – some endings were happy, but some were not.

The movie uses flashbacks to show the letters that Tom delivers, and the snippets of the families' past lives are painted in inter-mingled shades of happiness and sorrow, as they solemnly wait for Tom to reach their doorstep. Moreover, Gary Sweet's supporting role as the narrator provides the necessary context and builds up the atmosphere of the post-war events in Western Australia.

The background score is minimalistic and does not overpower the narrative, which beautifully captures the period of history it is set in. The bittersweet moments are handled with restraint so that the focus remains on the personal stories around it. This way, the film manages to bring out the full gamut of emotions that engulf people in such dire situations and make the viewer empathize with the characters in their dire situations.

The Telegram Man is a profound story of a man's humble and conscientious work, which might have been overlooked and taken for granted otherwise. Still, in this film's context, it acted as a medium of connection between people who had something incredibly profound, albeit difficult, to share with one another.

Director James F. Khehtie has crafted a beautiful film that is nothing, if not powerful. It is a tribute to the many men and women who worked tirelessly to make sure that people received the tragic or happy news they deserved, with the dignity and respect it deserved.

In conclusion, The Telegram Man positions itself among the best short films in recent memory. With a runtime of just 15-minutes, it packs a punch that is both emotional and genuinely humane, seldom found in lengthier feature films. It is a must-watch for anyone who loves quality storytelling, exceptional performances, and a history enthusiast.

THE TELEGRAM MAN is a 2011 drama with a runtime of 14 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.6.

THE TELEGRAM MAN is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon, Google Play and YouTube VOD. Some platforms allow you to rent THE TELEGRAM MAN for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    14 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.6  (118)