The Perfect Week

By Isabel Schnall | Romance
A heartbroken woman goes on a new date every night for a week.

Izzie has just broken up with her boyfriend, and it's been hard. She's lethargic and very sad. Her friend suggests an antidote to lift her spirits: a "perfect week" where she goes on a new date each night over the seven days.

Izzie decides to go for it, lining up a date for each night. Each night is unique, and each guy is different, offering a new lesson or at least a new story to tell. But will it help Izzie get over her breakup?

Written and directed by Isabel Schnall (who also plays the lead role of Izzie), this acerbic short romance film takes the idea of a woman's embrace of a "perfect week" to offer a panorama of the modern dating scene. It finds grounded humor in the mix of personalities that Izzie naturally encounters and reveals a sharp sense of observation about the unspoken rules, customs and assumptions about sex, romance and everything in between.

Izzie gets hit on in bars, goes on Tinder, and has day dates and booty calls, all portrayed in a polished but slightly moody visual style that blends realism with the slightly aspirational sheen of romance. Her experience runs the gamut, captured in sharp but understated writing and pacing that takes full advantage of the built-in structure of a week to put Izzie in a range of situations, from the awkward to the promising. Though there's a quirkiness in the mix of personalities clashing with one another, there's also a thoughtfulness in its observation of social dynamics and expectations that make it clear: dating is a lot of work.

Through it all, Schnall as an actor effectively balances a woman trying to stay open to the moment while still navigating the shadow of a serious romantic loss. That shadow gives the storytelling a growing emotional resonance, as Izzie discovers that no matter how fun or engrossing the distraction is, she can't quite escape herself or her pain.

"The Perfect Week" subverts expectations of the rom-com genre, in which a happy ending is enough to lift someone out of their existential discomfort. Instead, the film goes for wisdom. Dating can be a social activity, done for its own sake for fun and pleasure, and it can also be a serious search for partnership and love. As a way to distract from a romantic breakup, it can be fun, but also disingenuous, even to one's self. Izzie's final date is most promising, but she's learned to accept where she is at and be honest about it with a degree of empathy and even grace. She leaves it in a spirit of mutual kindness, going off into the unknown, but on the first step of truly moving forward from her loss.

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