Review: The Date (short film)

A wonderful snapshot of London dating life that feels more relatable than most feature length rom-coms

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I will start with this, in light of the subject matter; short films have always been a sector of films that I struggle with.  I find that the only time I’ve enjoyed one enough, so that I would remember it after the fact, that is, was when I was a child and there was a four minute number shown before the newest Disney or Dreamworks movie. As an adult, such snippets of brilliant moviemaking that are short films have not interested me, because they have either failed to capture my attention, or it’s left me wanting more – and I’m quite sure there won’t be a sequel that will satisfy in this instance. However, when the subject is free-spirited and happy as of that in The Date, a new short film directed by Emmalie El Fadli, I certainly feel as if I could be convinced by the genre.

The Date is largely what it says on the tin. Two people go out on their first date, with the 21st century twist of having met on a dating app, and enjoy a lovely night in old London Town.  There’s fun, flirting texting before the date that gives both the viewer and the main character a little shot of anticipation that, while not lasting long, leaves you wanting more; and unlike my usual problem with short films, there’s plenty of time so I’m okay with hoping for such.  The date that ensues is a fun, and most importantly genuine look at dating life in London.  Of course, the slight difference to most movies is that they’re both women.

It comes from Lizzy’s point of view to begin with, following her throughout the day leading up to the date.  The most wonderful moment of this two minute snippet was her sequence of trying on four our five different outfits before finally, finally settling on a cute dress, having pondered on a couple and even just doing a u-turn from the mirror while trying on another. It’s quite the usual romcom shot, that while serves to be painfully relatable for a few of us becomes supremely entertaining.

The moment they meet also strikes a familiar chord for any of us who have been on a first date. The standout moment of the entire film lies here for me: Lizzy turns to see her date, Olivia, and the smile communicates everything. Excitement, anticipation, nervousness and a smattering of ‘wow’. Miriam O’Brien, who plays Lizzy knocks it out of the park with just one look. It shows every feeling that one would feel in that moment (if it’s going well, of course). 

The wide shots show a beautiful side of London, and while some of the transitions could be a little sudden it never stopped me watching or caused me any real problem; the only thing I could have asked for were some more wide shots that were perhaps more local to the main scenes. When it came to the scenes in the restaurant and the bar however, there is some stellar editing, especially towards the end of the movie.  The bar in question may be familiar to many London-based viewers as SHEBar, which is quite an apt place for a date between two women. 

On that note, the most compelling and wonderful thing about this short film can only be that this date, between two normal women leading normal lives, doesn’t feel forced. It doesn’t feel as if it’s a ‘gay story’ for the sake of it, and while it’s a wonderful example of positive queer representation, I don’t believe that I’m watching these two characters and only remembering them for being a queer couple. I’m watching because the story is compelling, relatable and just simply adorable. 

The entire film is so wonderfully normal, fun and easy to watch. What’s more, it makes my heart sing just a little bit. I so adored this snippet of cinema that my only real problem is that it wasn’t longer. 

But then again, I did say short films weren’t my usual genre. 

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