Joe and Connie are on an awkward blind date with their friends, and at first, it doesn't seem to be going well.
But when their friends abandon them to their own devices, the pair discover that they share the same magical ability. To their surprise, they find themselves bonding over their unusual talent, which they've had to keep to themselves almost all their lives. But that special power also can complicate their potential romance.
Directed by Natalia Andreadis from a script co-written with Richard F. Russell, this whimsical short romance captures the initial magic of possible romance, when two people meet one another and discover they are on the same wavelength. In this case, the wavelength is Joe and Connie's special ability, which has made both of them slightly withdrawn from the rest of the world and perhaps even cynical.
Shot with a sleek, elegant cosmopolitan flair, the film has a muted naturalism whose dark shadows seem to contain an undertow of melancholy reflecting the two main characters when we first meet them. The storytelling's momentum builds as Joe and Connie tentatively explore their ability in tandem with one another. The dialogue takes on the quickened rhythms of wary flirtation, culminating in a delightful interlude that finds both using their magic to create their own improvised musical number.
It's a lovely and unexpected detour that promises an almost rhapsodic spin into a full-blown love affair, and actors Genesis Lynea and David O'Mahony carry off the shift from muted naturalism to modern flight of fancy with low-key charm. In a more conventional love story, such a number would spin the pair off on a whirlwind of courtship, complete with a charming, upbeat romantic montage.
But the narrative proves itself to be more self-aware and intelligent than to allow a simple happy ending, upending the norms of its genre and maybe even interrogating common notions of romance itself. It follows through on the logic of Joe and Connie's singular ability -- and they both realize the limitations of their relationship, and perhaps of their abilities for the first time. And just when they discover one another as perhaps the only two people who can truly understand who they are in the world, they wonder if that is enough to build a future upon.
"How Can I Forget" ends with our two protagonists confronted with an insight into their dynamic -- one that perhaps would have come much later if they both were not so singularly gifted in the same way. In doing so, the film perhaps serves as a metaphor for romantic love itself: something so deeply desired by so many, yet often doesn't end the way we'd like, perhaps because of the outsized expectations we hang on it. And Joe and Connie must reckon with the decision of whether or not it's all worth it in the end. And for the true romantics, the potential couple also begs the question of soulmates, and what does it exactly mean to be or find one. And their choice, too, perhaps stands for something deeper: whether or not the success of romantic love is defined by the destination, or the journey. Depending on where you stand, their final choice is either foolish -- or no surprise at all.