The 2022 Dances with Films Festival kicks off today and runs through June 19. Today, I review the short film, And I Miss You Like a Little Kid.
Synopsis: Inexperienced, depressive, and bisexual Jason falls for the decade-older and beautifully strange Clarissa just before lockdown. She celebrates his sexual and emotional self-discovery and soon she moves in with him. Shortly after entrenching herself in his apartment, she begins to flip on him, becoming a manipulative and emotionally abusive partner. After Jason uses self-harm as a cry for help, Clarissa blackmails and gaslights Jason into an impossible situation, leading him to make a decision about who he really is and who he really wants to be.
The short film could not be more timely, fresh off the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard case. From the viral videos to the public outrage, the trial was nothing short of a spectacle regardless of what side you were on. The age-old debate has always been about “men can’t be sexually assaulted or abused,” and how do people react to men when they speak out.
The lockdown is on the verge of happening when we see Jason and Clarissa meet at a cemetery for the first time. The two are quirky but cute together in this strange environment. It was the perfect introduction two these two characters by writer/director Ben Hosking. One moment leads to Jason seeing Clarissa’s scarred wrist, which Jason, in turn, shows his equally scarred wrist to her.
I love you, but sometimes I fucking hate you.
Everything seems to be going well for Clarissa and Jason. We know the pandemic is happening, but they have fallen in love, moved in together, and started a future. Everything seems to be going well for Clarissa and Jason until it isn’t. There is a tonal shift in the film that was written to perfection.
The little things make this short film stand out from your typical short film. From Etienne Monsaingeon’s score to Eythan Maidhof’s cinematography to Peter Haoyu Ju’s editing, these pieces elevate this story to even greater heights.
Of course, I have to talk about two brilliant performances from Chris Zylka and Teri Reeves. These two brought Ben’s script to life, making you fall in and out of love with these two characters. You don’t always get to see great acting displays in short films, but boy, they knocked our socks off.
Overall, this is a powerful and moving short film that if you are in the area during the Dances with Films festival, seek this one out because I am not sure you will watch a better short this year.