Is This True Love?

Reviewer: Maryam Philpott

Writer: Kevin Douglas

Director: Kevin Douglas and Lauren Dunlop

A chance encounter in a park, romantic sparks fly and two characters are on their way to true love, or are they? Kevin Douglas and Lauren Dunlop’s spin on the dreamy and deluded fantasy of the rom com in Is This True Love?, an 18-minute satire that neatly captures the unrealistic expectations of going into every relationship believing you have found ‘the one.’ Created around two characters with quite different approaches, this entertaining short takes the would-be lovers in an unexpected direction.

Building and sustaining a credible scenario is the hardest part of truncated storytelling and to hold the attention of the audience, it needs to generate an immersive investment from the start. Here Douglas and Dunlop achieve that through some useful character shorthand as Jeannie (Veronica Grenville) watches a scene from her favourite true love film, quickly establishing the highly romanticised perspective that she takes into her meeting with park worker Amelia (Petra Szicso) at their inevitable meet-cute involving deck chair rental.

There is a La La Land-like style to Jeannie’s point of view as she drifts into her rom com fantasy with swelling music and dreamy stares, and this technique is repeated effectively throughout the story. Yet, having achieved her object, Jeannie must work hard to retain Amelia and ensure their relationship plays out in the way that she dreamed of. Using a bright colour palette and some nicely managed and cutting techniques to create a heightened but comedic style, the co-directors nicely shape Jeannie’s perspective and the demands she places both on herself and her semi-mystified new partner to comply with something the film suggests is an unobtainable ideal.

In the final third, the story moves in an unexpected direction as a strain affects the budding romance, offering the audience a slightly different angle on the events and perceived emotions we have been shown, although spending a little more time on this, how it happened and its implications would benefit the overall narrative and give greater depth to the characters. This section is particularly useful in hinting at a controlling or even doubtful element of Jeannie’s personality despite the avowed belief in love at first sight that is worth exploring further.

The film could also flesh out Amelia’s perspective a little more, even a few quick reaction shots that might imply all is not well or something to indicate that Amelia is less earnest about relationships in ways that make Jeannie’s fiction harder to sustain. So, is it true love? The character of Jeannie thinks so every time.

Is This True Love? Is Two Cent Lion’s premiere film.

The Reviews Hub Score:

Unexpected directions

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The Reviews Hub - Film

The Reviews Hub Film Team is under the editorship of Maryam Philpott.

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