It was interesting to watch my first “pandemic” film during a pandemic. Wasn’t sure how I would feel about it. Would it be too much? After watching Chad Hartigan’s (This is Martin Bonner) film Little Fish I would have to say that it was not jarring in the least. I guess we have gotten to the point where it is just a part of our reality.
Maybe because there is a romantic slant it softened the blow a little. Maybe it is because the virus is different. Whatever the case the film was enjoyable. Much of that is because of the two leads. Olivia Cooke, who has become somewhat of an “it” girl over the last year or two, and Jack O’Connell have great onscreen chemistry really selling the romance side of the story. Though there are others in the film it really centers around the two and they are onscreen most of the 101 minute run time. They make you believe and feel all that is going on between the two young lovers.
A virus, called Neuro-Inflammatory Affliction, is going around the world. It causes those who catch it to forget everything. For some it happens gradually while others it just goes all at once. Young married couple, Emma (Olivia Cooke – Sound of Metal, Ready Player One) and Jude (Jack O’Connell – Unbroken, Seberg), are just starting their lives together when Jude begins losing his memory. The two try to deal with it as best they can.
A world, much like ours at present, filled with fear and anxiety. What this film tries to get across is that even in the worst of times if we have others to lean on and love in our lives that is what is going to get us through.
Though this is not a “wow” film it is a solid one. Every element within is good providing a good foundation to get the story across. Adapted by Mattson Tomlin (who is writing the upcoming Batman film) from a short story by Aja Gabel, in tone and the fact that it has to do with memory loss, it might remind some watching of Eternal Sunshine of the Spottless Mind. For the cynical people out there the film was completed before COVID-19 began, so it is not an attempt to cash in.
Flashbacks and presentday montages give us a window into the relationship of Emma and Jude. The central question here is how do you plan a future when you cannot remember your past? Is love based on shared memories? If you cannot remember the things you experienced with a person would you still be attracted to them? Questions are asked about the nature of love or what makes it up which you might not have pondered previously.
Despite the darker subject matter of the film, it looks beautiful featuring great cinematography by Sean McElwee (Horse Girl, The Incredible Jessica James). Sharp, bright colours and some eye catching scenery.