How do you navigate love in the era of COVID-19? Are we just supposed to put our love-life on hold and take cold showers as this virus blows over? Romance and the Coronavirus are tackled in Whitney Howard’s romantic comedy short, Infectiously In Love.
Tom is making the best of the nationwide lockdown. Even while grilling with his good friend on his front porch, he is masked, gloved, and playing it safe. Soon, the subject turns to romance as Tom will soon go on a lunch date with a girl he met online. Abby is a free-spirit and made the decision long ago, that she will weather this crisis without a facemask.
As Tom prepares for his date, he watches old romance films and listens to local talk radio with warnings about seeking the facts of the pandemic and not to cause needless panic. The rest of the short follows Tom and Abby having lunch and watching a movie, all while navigating Tom’s overly cautious approach to surviving and Abby’s “let nature decide” approach to the virus.
“…Tom’s overly cautious approach to surviving and Abby’s ‘let nature decide’ approach to the virus.”
In Infectiously In Love, writer/director Whitney Howard focuses on the trouble of finding love in this time, rather than give us a comedic social distancing sketch that currently litters YouTube. The relationship between Tom and Abbey is sweet and encompasses the first date where the pair are clearly interested in one another but are just “feeling” each other out. But Is this the time for romance?
As a short, the story is presented in black and white, and for the most part, it works making good use of contrasting tones. There is a critical lighting problem at the end, that is vital to the story’s ending. Overall, writer Howard does a good job telling his story with the equipment (I assume a cellphone) available to him in lockdown and with literally zero money.
The only criticism I have is wishing the overall energy of the short was cranked up a notch or two. Much of the work in the relationship feels to have fallen on Abby, and I would have like to see Tom’s dilemma of love versus personal safety played a little louder.
At nine minutes, Infectiously In Love just crosses over the recommendation line and worth supporting up-and-coming filmmakers, like Whitney Howard. To Howard, keep making films, and continue to push the boundaries of storytelling and film production.
"…does a good job telling his story with the equipment available to him in lockdown."