When Abbie Met Emmy (2019)
Comedy, Romance, 10 mins
When an offbeat young woman encounters her perfect match in a movie theatre, she must summon the courage to win her dream girl’s heart.
What makes this film truly remarkable is the way it plays with cinematic tropes and heteronormative clichés.
Kevin Walls’ imaginative short film, When Abbie Met Emmy, is everything you need if you’re looking for a “feel good” romance. In the short time span of ten minutes, it’ll make you both laugh and feel that fuzzy feeling you used to get (and probably still do) when watching Disney films. The film starts when Abbie (Rachel Flynn), a quirky and visibly timid character, spots Emmy (Kim Allan) in the middle of an empty movie theater. Amazingly, she finds the courage to approach her and to sit two seats away from her, a move that incites an annoyed reaction from Emmy, given the theater’s emptiness. The scenes that then follow are the subsequent films that the two watch – always two seats apart- as they navigate the ups and downs of falling in love.
What makes this film truly remarkable is the way it plays with cinematic tropes and heteronormative clichés. Everything from the orchestral music to the mise-en-scène is reminiscent of the boy-meets-girl kind of films we’ve been fed for decades. Just look at the title: it’s a clear play on the 1989 classic When Harry Met Sally. Even the camera’s position – placed with its back to the cinema screen and facing Abbie and Emmy – will remind viewers of the countless scenes Hollywood has produced of a man faking a yawn and placing his arm around his unsuspecting date. There is even one point where a male cinema-goer eyes Abbie and offers her the seat next to his, his arm already in position to make “the move.” But Abbie, like Walls, is not interested in this played-out scene.
Despite its winks to classic romance films, Wall’s short film is different, and not just because it breaks from the heteronormative mold. Perhaps the first thing that will draw audience’s attention is the lack of dialogue. At no point do the two women speak to each other. We wouldn’t even know their names if it weren’t for the title. And yet, thanks to Flynn’s and Allan’s incredible acting, as well as the fantastic musical score, the film is packed with emotion. What also drew my attention was the importance of minute actions. A carrot stick becomes the object of a silent discussion. An offering of popcorn a milestone in their relationship. And a hand a sign of longing.
Original and beautifully delicate, Walls’ film offers something new that is at the same time recognizable. Its deconstruction of Hollywood’s played-out cinema scenes comes as a breath of fresh air, but one that comes with all the good feelings that a romance film is supposed to incite.
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This article was written by:
Isidora has written for various student papers, offering articles from film reviews to opinion pieces that often had Latin American cultural events or productions as the focus of the piece.
She has just graduated from her MPhil in Comparative Literatures from the University of Cambridge, and will be going on to do her PhD in Hispanic Studies in Toronto.