The thing about OJ Reyes’s That Thing I Had That One Time (TTIHTOT) is that it tries, really tries, to get at something insightful through its story of unplanned pregnancy, but gross, drawn-out shots of puke floating in a toilet, terrifyingly resembling faeces, with the protagonist’s face hovering over it takes the audience and shoots them far, far away out the story. It is meaninglessly disgusting.
This is a case of bad editing, one which persists throughout the film, many unnecessary shots are drawn out in service of a message that struggles to translate to the screen. The plot follows 20-something Sadie (with Juno’s fidgety ways and Lady Bird’s aesthetic) through an unwanted pregnancy and an absentee boyfriend, ridden with doubt and panic. Jordan Fassina’s performance as Sadie is the only thing that lends the film any credibility.
For all the emotional ups and downs that the plot contains, it does not leave much of an impression due to the meandering pace. Sadie’s ultimate decision remains in question for the majority of the plot; the indecision feels real, perhaps the only honest element in this messy, tonally confused film. This honesty is undermined at least once, with a random character introduction of an old friend who Sadie visits only to find she has a baby. It’s a contrived scene and the character is introduced and dropped according to plot convenience. Sadie’s own friend who is promised to be there throughout is absent in most scenes of significance, only briefly appearing via video call at the doctor’s office.
Whether it is TTIHTOT’s saturated colour scheme or its ill-fitting overabundance of pop music, it mashes together what feels like everything that signals young adult content but with none of the viscerality.#ShortFilmReview: That Thing I Had That One Time: Explore the grey area between two complex options. Click To Tweet
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