Jay Ford, Adam Giblin, Claire Hickman
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
"It's a Love Thing" A Rare Romantic Short Film
It doesn't happen often.
But, sometimes. Oh my. It's truly sublime. Sometimes, a short film so completely captures my heart and mind that I find myself sitting in my hope watching it again and again and again.
It's a Love Thing is such a film.
A romantic film set against the backdrop of the early 1980's and the Star Wars craze, It's a Love Thing begins its life when young Jessica (Hollie Thoupos) walks into Andrew's (Peter Overal) classroom. A shy Star Wars mad 12-year-old, Andrew soon realizes that he gets butterflies around 11-year-old Jessica and can smell that "girl" smell when she's around.
Indeed, Andrew has his first crush.
With a sweetness and honesty that is rarely captured in short film, or feature films for that matter, It's a Love Thing manages to capture that childlike quality of first love without turning it into something childish or immature or condescending. It is a film that will make you laugh, make you remember, make you feel deeply and maybe even make you shed a tear along the journey of its 46-minute running time.
In American cinema, such a story would end up looking like a cloying Rob Reiner film or it would be filled with unnecessary histrionics or special effects. For some reason, and I have no idea why, British filmmakers are always more able to capture cinema targeting children and families that entertains without speaking down to the emotional, intellectual and physical journeys of children. It's a Love Thing is a beautiful example of this being true.
It likely helps writer/director Andrew Dodd that he's perfectly cast the film with two delightful young performers in Peter Overal and Hollie Thoupos. The two have all the chemistry and charisma we sat in the movie theater hoping for when Rob Reiner's Flipped tried but ultimately failed to explore somewhat similar themes not so long ago. Overal convinces as the shy and introverted Andrew for whom sci-fi ends up being a desperately needed bridge to human connection with Jessica. As the young girl whose military father has moved her around throughout her childhood, Thoupos has a subtle confidence and an almost heartbreaking vulnerability.
The two of them together? Again, I'll say it. Sublime.
It's a Love Thing was originally a two-page script for the 50 Kisses Competition that went by the name Romeo and Boba Fett. From that point, the film became a five-minute short, a 10-minute short then finally came to life in its current incarnation.
It's a Love Thing could easily be a full-length feature with a story that satisfies and compels from beginning to end. Dodd himself also lenses the film and he does so with a remarkable tenderness that captures the real heart of this delightful story that is both intimate and universal.
The film is also beautifully cast among the supporting players including Adam Giblin as their teacher and Jay Ford and Sarah Whitehouse, the latter two performers whom portray Andrew and Jessica twenty years after the story begins.
It's a Love Thing has already picked up an Award of Merit at Indiefest 2013 and was winner of Best Family Film at Vancouver's Canada International Film Festival. I have no doubt that there will be many more awards as the film picks up speed on its festival journey.
It's a Love Thing, in the span of a mere 46-minutes, has just about everything I love about film - a delightful story, beautiful performances, laughs, tears, memorable lines, abundant authenticity and, perhaps best of all, it's a film that stays with you in thought and feeling long after the closing credits have rolled.
If you get a chance, and I hope you do, do yourself a favor and catch It's a Love Thing.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic