Written by: Jacob Melling
Starring: #AlexandraRoseWilson and Jacob Melling
U + I is a short film written by Jacob Melling who also co-directed it alongside Jonathan Harrow. It shows us snippets of Yannis and Imogen’s relationship from mundane tasks to heartfelt moments. Things, however, are not perfect, and from the beginning we can tell something is amiss.
In Harrow and Melling’s short we have a simple story that places its bets on building the relationship between Yannis and Imogen rather than concentrating on exaggerated storyline. It is true that the film subverts our expectations at the end, but the feeling of the film remains the same – we don’t care about what is happening as much as we care to whom it is happening.
From the starting point there seems to be a hierarchy in the sense of which character has the most knowledge of what is happening and, in order to resolve this issue, not only for the characters but also for the audience, the screenplay chooses to focus on looks and gestures rather than dialogue.
Working together with the screenplay is the cinematography which respects the boundaries of the emotions – there is no need for extravagant camera movements, and Jonathan Harrow, who is also the director of photography, understands that, using the cinematography to complement rather than hijack the story.
In order to tell the story efficiently there needed to be a chemistry between the two characters, especially since the short plays with tropes of “good relationship” – there is the obligatory scene in the bathroom when one is brushing their teeth and the other is on the toilet, but there are also genuine scenes in which we understand their relationship is much more than just banter and joking around. As much as those tropes seem to build on the cliché every relationship must have, it works, but it works mainly because of the chemistry between Alexandra Rose Wilson, who plays Imogen, and Jacob Melling, who plays Yannis. Both Wilson and Melling are believable as Yannis and Imogen and their chemistry fits well within the narrative.
Jonathan Harrow and Jacob Melling have created a very enjoyable and sensitive short film. Though we may encounter a fairly big twist in the story, as I mentioned before, our identification is with the characters and their plights, even if we don’t understand them right away. There is a line in the film that says “moments is nothing more than a gift” and I think this is the overall feeling the short aims to convey - Imogen wants to hold on to those gifts Yannis has given her.