Okay, so let’s start with the good part: the opening scene is perfect. Dad’s head is right above baby Liam’s head; they’re both perfectly centered, and they’re both looking directly at Grandma and Grandpa. It’s a clear and ideal way for us to meet these characters.

After that, though, it all got pretty confusing.

If I had to pinpoint where things went off the rails, it would be when Liam took the phone. At first, it seemed like Dad was very determined to make Liam give the phone back to him, so I figured we were in for a nice old-fashioned chase scene followed by a return to more logical camera shots. But then, after a few seconds, Dad just, like, gave up. And it didn’t seem like he had given up only on getting the phone back. It seemed like he had completely given up on getting Liam to ever listen to anything he had to say about anything. It felt existentially sad and made for a very jarring juxtaposition from the beginning of the call, when they were just talking to Grandma and Grandpa about Liam’s swimming lesson.

The constantly shifting camera angles were confusing as well. I thought the whole point of doing a video call rather than an audio call was to let Grandma and Grandpa see their grandson, and that is where things seemed to be going based on the opening shot. But, again, once Liam got the phone, this all went out the window. Sometimes, he was still front and center; sometimes, the camera flipped around entirely, so Grandma and Grandpa were basically just looking at floors. And sometimes, he seemed really determined to get to YouTube and put on that Sesame Street video where HAIM sings the alphabet. Underlying everything was the depressing realization that this eighteen-month-old already feels extremely comfortable with and entitled to a smartphone despite not knowing how to use the bathroom yet. The whole thing gave me a headache.

That Sesame Street video is a good example of a video with a more consistent tone and understandable camera work, by the way. So, it could be a good role model for future video calls.

Also, not to get too reductive, but the basic point of any type of call is to convey information, right? I’m just asking because I don’t think any information whatsoever was conveyed after those initial comments about Liam’s swimming lesson, and even that wasn’t particularly revealing—it just confirmed that, like, yeah, he went to a swimming lesson. Good for him.

Oh, and the less said about the part of the call where the phone appeared to go inside Liam’s mouth, the better.

Dad did get the phone back after that part, which I thought was going to straighten things out, but instead, he just ended it pretty much immediately. He did get out one halfhearted “Say bye-bye to Grandma and Grandpa!” that even he clearly knew Liam wasn’t actually going to do. Then he shrugged, and then it was over. And, to be honest, seeing the video call end was the most comfortable I felt the entire time.

So, yeah, I’d say my main piece of feedback would be to try and keep things a bit more straightforward next time. Not every video has to be some grand experimental statement about the possibilities and limitations of film, you know? Sometimes a crowd pleaser that’s just five minutes of a cute baby is more than enough.

Having said all that, Grandma and Grandpa did seem to be completely enraptured for every second of the call. So, I guess in that sense, it was a success.