I would imagine most people living nowadays have fond, deeply rooted memories when it comes to their local shopping mall. For many of us, the mall was where we grew up. We shopped, certainly- but we also got our first taste of adult freedom as we earned the right to “hang out” at the mall with our friends. Mall corridors have seen many a break-up, many a make-up, and one can only imagine what else. It’s inside us, particularly as Americans, to love our local shopping mall.

The small town of Jasper is no different. Jasper Mall has seen its fair share of ups and downs, but as time goes on and shopping changes (Thanks a bunch, Amazon) the mall has to change and grow with it. JASPER MALL is a documentary about the downsizing of what was once a small town safe haven, and the loss of malls as a whole. Slowly but surely we are all facing the realities of losing brick and mortar stores to online merchants, but in a small town the stakes are so much higher. JASPER MALL sheds light on the question no one is ready to ask or answer yet – where do we go once the malls are gone? The social aspect, the small community aspect – the ritual dominoes players, the coffee meetups… all gone in a blink if we aren’t paying attention.

It would be easy for subject matter such as this to be bleak. JASPER MALL is kept alive by a delightfully quirky cast of characters — Mike, the head of Security, is a former exotic animal handler, and even had his own Zoo facility at one time. Now he spends his days cleaning up after, and checking in on, beloved mall patrons and shop owners. His heart drives us to love Jasper, and the people who live there. How could you not love a town where the big hoopla event of the year is a Gospel Quartet festival held right in the mall food court? Mall regulars can be seen staking out tables for their daily domino games just past the high schoolers awkwardly holding hands. It’s the picture of quaint small town perfection, and Mike sees that it all could come to an end sooner than anyone would like.

JASPER MALL delicately reflects on the heart and soul of the town losing its center. In a small town like Jasper, with not much else to do, the mall provides more of a gathering place than an opportunity to shop, and even the shops themselves are run by men and women who have lived and worked in Jasper for years. When the mall flower shop owner retires, patrons from all over the mall come by to wish her well and say their goodbyes – each commenting on how long they’ve shopped there, and reminiscing on the history being lost with the store’s closing. Jasper is a family – from the high school and college age maintenance workers to the elderly shop clerks – and we feel the strain of the family being spread out and torn apart.

Honest, endearing, and full of charm, JASPER MALL left me a lot to think about – not just as a shopper, or mall-goer, but as a human. Shop local – you never know how long it’s going to last.

 

Jasper Mall
RATING: UR Trailer Not Available
Runtime: 1 hr 30Mins.
Directed By: