A Love Undefined – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Title card for the short
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In this short, a young woman toils over the idea of getting back with an abusive fiancé.


Director(s) Tishehma ‘Shema’ Jones
Screenplay By Tishehma ‘Shema’ Jones
Date Released 9/13/2016
Genre(s) Short, Drama
Good If You Like Shorts Featuring Domestic Violence
Actors Introduced
Tione Shema Jones
Devin Jakeem Hawkins

Summary

It’s not clear how long Tione and Devin have been together but clearly, it has gone south. He is jealous, insecure, and appears to be physically abusive. Yet, with a night alone, and a ring on her finger, Tione contemplates whether to stay and suppress her feelings or leave.

Highlights

The Decision To Stay or Go

I think many underestimate the difficulty in leaving someone. Especially if you been with them a long time and if they have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde vibe. Something you get a taste of in this story for while we never see the good times, with Tione living together with Devin, even engaged, something had to be there. Yet, one thing or another went left and now she is staring at her phone, seemingly wondering where he is, and looking for marks on her body to see if any noticeable damage was done.

Thus producing that need to yell at your phone: GET OUT OF THERE! Yet realizing with all these attachments she has to him, a lease or mortgage, maybe a car, as well as her emotions, it is easier said than done.

On The Fence

We Don’t See The Good Times At All

Tione with a bruise on her neck.
Shema Jones as Tione

It’s very difficult to talk about domestic violence and see it on screen. Mostly because you are pushed to question why they let things get so far, why are you with them and, as said, a lot of questions which are easy to ask but hard to answer. This short doesn’t help things because Devin’s redeeming qualities don’t get shown. Tione is placed as the pure victim which, on one hand, you have to love for how often to Black women get to just be the victim and not shown as someone who is strong, can handle it, or the situation being complicated?

Yet, again, tiptoeing carefully, there is this real desire to know more about this relationship to know if Devin was always like this, but Tione ignored it, or this is a brand new thing she is dealing with?

Overall: Mixed (Divisive)

The main and prime issue here is the same with most shorts – you get the gist of it and you have to add in your own pieces. However, with this short being about a bad relationship, getting what feels like a 2D view of both kind of lessens the story. Which isn’t to say more story would mean sympathy for Devin or justification. More so, I want to understand why beyond just recognizing jealousy and insecurity. What this short lacks is us getting the root of the issue.

Hence the mixed label. For while Jones delivers a fine performance, with minimal story, her performance doesn’t make up for what is missing.

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