What do filmmakers do when they’re stuck in quarantine during a pandemic? Make a movie, of course. If you’re like Irish filmmaker Michael-David McKernan, sometimes an idea for a film falls into one’s lap and thus the birth of How to Fall in Love in a Pandemic.
Two weeks before filming (and before the global lockdown), Michael-David met fellow filmmaker Mimi Wilcox on Tinder in Chicago. The two hit it off. After their five-day date, McKernan returned to his homeland of Ireland, but distance could not keep them apart. At his invitation, Wilcox flew there to meet up with him again and bring closure to this long-distance whirlwind romance. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and travel back to the U.S. was halted.
With Wilcox stuck in Ireland and McKernan’s home, the two decided to document their relationship, time together, and challenges. Shot primarily on their iPhones, we catch tender moments between the two in the house, and then they would record their thoughts and feelings alone in his car.
“…Wilcox flew there to…bring closure to this long-distance whirlwind romance. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit…”
It was odd for McKernan to have someone now living in his bachelor-pad home for a forced period of time. Wilcox, on the other hand, was a stranger in a new and unfamiliar land with a guy she’d only known for just a few weeks. Now the two are locked in a home together, unable to leave or venture out. As I’m reading this, it sounds like a horror film.
Documentaries about love, especially between random strangers, are challenging to pull off. Let’s start by just asking the question—why should we care about these two individuals? While we can relate to the general concepts of love and falling in love, our individual journeys are rarely the same. They’re not precisely A-list Hollywood celebs. I think you’ll care because they are ordinary folk, like you and me—young people navigating love under a strange rom-com plotline.
How To Fall in Love in a Pandemic manages to capture the thoughts and emotions of the two, primarily because McKernan finds the balance between telling the story of his romance with Wilcox and this strange pandemic waltz everyone the world over found themselves dancing. I found myself drawn to the pair over the movie’s 11-minute runtime. Most importantly, he successfully highlights the impact that the quarantine lockdown had on their relationship and ends the story in a perfect and realistic fashion.
"…highlights the impact that the quarantine lockdown had on their relationship..."