Directed by: #AbigailScollay
Starring: Jonathan Jude, Aude De Pallieres
Looking at that bold, yellow typeface set on a fun, red background, you might expect that this film is a comedy. The title card creates a suggestion of whimsy and wackiness. However, the film doesn’t match this tone at all. You might be wondering why I’m bothering to point this out and if it really matters and the answer is probably not, but its one of the only problems I had about the film.
From the outset, its uncomfortable and awkward and a little shady and seedy. A boy and a girl meet up in a hotel room – if you’ve ever watched anything before, you’ll know that some dodgy stuff is about to go down. You’re probably even thinking that it’s a bit cliché, but aha! You’ve been fooled. This is not your basic hotel room dodgy dealings; Him and Her uses this established trope to subvert your expectations and wouldn’t you know it, there’s a twist – it’s a short film, there’s always got to be a twist. Given the wacky title card, I was expecting the twist to be that they weren’t there for sex but instead they had built a time machine or were about to commit a heist, and the tone was about to completely shifted and they were going to get up to all kinds of wacky hijinks, and honestly I was here for it, but I’m much happier with the direction they ended up going in.
I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the twist allows for Him and Her to explore some pretty interesting stuff. Suddenly you’re questioning why it all seemed so shady and dirty and uncomfortable and it opens up questions about its subject matter that I feel have been under-addressed. Ah, piss, I can’t really talk about it without spoiling it. If you have problems with spoilers just know it’s a good film, the acting is fine at best, the editing is good, the cinematography is very nice, it all looks very good and it feels very insightful into the human psyche and stuff, you should go watch it. Review over.
Now, for the rest of you, the twist is that he’s asked her there to help him put on women’s clothes and makeup. It’s unclear if they are a transwoman, a cross-dresser, non-binary, or something else, which is great because the characters themselves don’t seem to really know. This is a young person, confused and lost and discovering themselves, and whether you’re transgender or have ever questioned your identity or sexuality or just been alive, it’s a really powerful little film.