Short films matter. Vimeo wants you to know it. So do we. That’s why every week we’ll take a look at some of the short film world’s best and brightest. This week, we bring you Josh Close’s OCD romance 123… You Please.
The Plot: A young woman suffering from OCD tries to balance life and love.
The Film: Take one part As Good As It Gets (1997). Add a dash of Punch-Drunk Love (2002). Top off with a heap of personal insight. And what you’ve got is 123… You Please.
Why Press Play?
You probably noted that both of the aforementioned movies are about unstable people struggling to control compulsive behaviors. They’re also both romances. 123… You Please is too. And it’s centered around a character suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. While 123… borrows elements from those other films, Writer/Director Josh Close puts a fresh spin on the familiar themes by mining his own experiences with the disorder. The result is a deeply personal exploration of OCD wrapped in the guise of a whimsical romance.
The film follows Hannah (Alex McKenna) – a successful writer whose OCD forces her to ritualistically count to three whenever her world feels out of order. That compulsion can manifest in anything from abrasive throat clearing to verbal tics and spitting (indoors or out). Close and DP Minka FK spend much of the film exploring the delicate emotional terrain that spawns such behavior (not to mention the caustic loneliness that it breeds) through the lens of their camera – often trapping or isolating Hannah in frame with close-ups and dropping focus in moments of extreme turmoil.
123… You Please can feel a little claustrophobic as a result. But that’s not the story Close & Co. are out to tell. Though the film carries a certain intensity, it never quite gives over to the darker corners of OCD. Close tempers the story’s sharper edges with Justin Schornstein’s whimsical, Punch-Drunk inspired compositions. But it’s Mckenna’s performance that makes the warm, beating heart of 123… You Please tick. Her pained expressions and blazing stare instills the troubled young Hannah with a vivid inner life. One full of hope and love and blinding anxiety. Throughout the film, McKenna internalizes every conflicting emotion. She imbues 123… You Please with an aching sense of humanity in the process. One that finally finds release in the film’s pitch-perfect final moments. You really should push play and experience that release for yourself.
Meet The Crew:
Written & Directed by: Josh Close Starring: Alex McKenna & Josh Close Director of Photography: Minka FK Music by: Justin Schornstein
I hope you enjoy 123… You Please! You should probably get to know Alex McKenna’s face too. I have a hunch you’ll be seeing it with a little more frequency. ‘Cause 123… You Please should do nothing but raise her already impressive profile. Same goes for Josh Close. He’s already built a steady reputation as an actor. 123… You Please is only his second effort from the director’s chair. With any luck, this film will get him a little more work behind the camera. Sadly, Close’s first film Short On Love is not posted anywhere on Vimeo. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t kick around and check out a few of the thousands of other short films – animated, live action and documentary – the Vimeo team have made available for your viewing pleasure (via desktop or mobile device – SWEET!). You’re sure to find something interesting. And you may just stumble across the next great filmmaker.