REVIEW: I Fucking Hate You [2008]

Score: 9/10 | ★ ★ ★ ½


Rating: NR | Runtime: 9 minutes | Release Date: 2008 (USA)
Studio: Sabi Pictures
Director(s): Zak Forsman
Writer(s): Zak Forsman, Marion Kerr & John T. Woods

“I didn’t hide it very well, did I?”

It isn’t easy to let someone go. The pain, guilt, anger, regret, and lingering love mixes together into a pool of emotion you cannot simply move on from without introspection and time. For some a final meeting can go a long way towards tying loose ends and saying a real goodbye far from the open wound of that initial parting of ways containing little but hatred in your heart. It’s hard to remember good times once they’re over because the heartbreak overshadows everything in its never failing ability to make you believe it was all simply a waste. You either retain the malice of a relationship’s conclusion or the joy that brought you into one another’s arms—feeling both is almost impossible.

Deciding which way your memories will go is at the center of Zak Forsman’s directorial debut short I Fucking Hate You. Where Carol (Marion Kerr) has moved on alongside the man her ex believes stole her, Ron (John T. Woods) can’t help but linger on the sentimentality attached to so many objects left in his apartment from when they were together. Finally acknowledging the need to move on and remove every last visage of their joined pasts, simply throwing everything out isn’t enough. It’s necessary to confirm the fact Carol is over him before he too can let go. So he fills a box with souvenirs and knick-knacks, walks down the block to where she lives, and rings the bell.

Shot with the same up-close-and-personal aesthetic I came to enjoy in Forsman’s feature length work Heart of Now, the fluidity of the camera from motion to focus to glare is a gorgeous feat of visual poetry. His effortless ability to put the emotional weight of every line and glance in frame is a rare trait to possess, especially in a piece with so many reaction shot cuts changing vantage and character. Each appears seamless and natural as we catch every nuance in the actors’ faces, both guarded to the idea of revisiting the closeness in proximity they’ve avoided since separating. There’s sarcasm, loathing, and just the smallest bit of compassion underlying it all.

Woods plays the wounded soul to perfection as he internally works up the courage to initiate their reunion, taking one last nervous breath before finding himself unable to stop talking. He works his magic to get Carol admitting she does want something back—a gaudy mug of unknown significance—that he knew she would, cajoling her into returning to the home they once shared for its retrieval. Woods exudes a sweetness throughout the process, using his charm and innocence to earn the chance to explain his emotions like he never could before. Out comes “(I Assure You) This is a Love Song” and we made to understand his true feelings in a performance that also provides the answer he sought from his audience of one.

What does it really mean to willingly want something that can’t help but remind you of a relationship you ended? What could be going through Carol’s mind as she leaves her new boyfriend to follow her ex back to his place in full knowledge of his manipulation? Kerr expertly traverses this awkward no man’s land of wanting to finally shut the door on Ron despite opening it wider in order to do so. And her reactionary laughter at the end of the heartfelt, hilariously honest song is so authentic that we realize this brief parley was something she needed too. With it comes a palpable release of emotional, physical, and mental connection; a cathartic response that gives both the permission to once and for all move on.

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