A short film about the pain of a premature love declaration.
Figuring out the right time to say “I love you” is hard.
Saying it to someone and not hearing it back is devastating, but it’s almost just as painful to hear yourself declaring your love and realize, “Wait, this is only our second date. Uh oh.” If you’ve ever found yourself in that category, you definitely need to watch the short film “Oh Jerome, No.”
It follows Jerome (Mamoudou Athie from Netflix’s The Get Down), a frustrated romantic who finds himself inexplicably saying “I love you” at the drop of a hat, understandably freaking out his would-be girlfriends. He tries reading books like Suppress Your Feelings and Score with Women, but nothing works – until he visits a hypnotherapist (who is, amazingly, played by Debra Winger… yes, THAT Debra Winger).
The hypnotherapist convinces Jerome that he won’t be able to say “I love you” until someone says it to him first. (He should know better to trust a hypnotherapist after Office Space.)
The therapy works – Jerome begins a ridiculously cute relationship with real-life singer Natalie Prass (who wrote some great new original songs for the short). But when she’s finally ready to say those three magic words, Jerome, for once in his life, can’t say them back. (He totally got Office Spaced.)
It’s a weird, adorable little film. Jerome and Natalie totally sell their unlikely romance, and the subject matter is the kind of stuff that we’ve ALL experienced on some level.
The timing of the first “I love you” in a relationship is always a tricky thing to pull off. You want to be confident that you’ve put in enough time together that the words will have some weight behind them, but you also really, really want to be sure that your partner is going to reciprocate.
The early scenes with Jerome, desperately trying to hold back his emotions, reminds me of that beyond-painful scene from the movie Swingers, where Jon Favreau tries to leave a follow-up message after his first successful date in a long time. The whole enterprise devolves into an uncomfortable series of emotional declarations to an unforgiving answering machine that completely freak out Favreau’s date and ruin their relationship.
Jerome is a little more together than Favreau’s character, but it’s nice to see a cute, earnest romance all about a guy figuring out the proper way to express his emotions when he’s around a woman that he really connects with.
“Oh Jerome, No” was written and directed by a filmmaking team that calls themselves “The Spielbergs” (funny) – in reality, they’re Teddy Blanks and Alex Karpovsky (who you probably know better as Ray from HBO’s Girls).
If you have any experience with a premature “I love you,” you definitely should check the film out. Because, if you’ve ever been in Jerome’s position before, it might be nice to shake your head and cringe at someone else for a change.