Kate is a successful career woman, but after a string of failed relationships and a bunch of bad dates that go nowhere, she signs up for a magical Groupon that promises her the chance to rekindle a romance with the love of her life, her high school boyfriend.
But when she shows up to their date, her former flame is still 16, and Kate is forced to see their relationship for what it really was.
Director Erin Brown Thomas, along with writer/lead actor Kelly Vrooman, have created a comedy short that melds the joyous absurdity of a modern fairy tale with a genuine life lesson on keeping romance in perspective, especially when you’re young.
The writing and directing come together with an infectious energy at all levels, whether it’s in the polished, aspirational cinematography, the witty dialogue or the flourishes of broad humor and physical comedy that punctuate scenes. The pacing and rhythm of the film bubbles from one scenario, creating an enjoyable romp not just through Kate’s life as a woman but through contemporary dating as well.
There is an unabashed, delightful silliness to the film, making for great entertainment and amusement. But there’s also an emotional intelligence underlying the proceedings, one that imbues lead performer Vrooman’s deftly comic performance as Kate.
Informed by sketch comedy, there’s a willingness to really push at the boundaries and a wild energy, but Vrooman also hits the right emotional notes when needed, especially as she realizes just how much she idealized her ex from high school — and just what the truth of that relationship was.
Kate’s realization is the crucial turning point of the narrative, which elevates “Rekindled” beyond your typical romantic comedy. It argues that clarity and a certain centeredness in romance are actually key to enjoying love and life, debunking the idea that love must be all-consuming to be romantic.
It also very skillfully incorporates the idea about healthy relationships when young, and what the stakes are when they’re toxic. Kate may not get the guy she thought she wanted in the end, but no matter what, she has her whole, full, authentic self — worth more than anything in the end.