Cannes Film Festival: About him & her

About him & her is a unique love encounter of two individuals, in different states, that connect thanks to a crossed telephone line in 1989. Him (played by Callan McAuliffe) in Chicago, and Her (played by Cristina Spruell) in Detroit, form a tender bond never having seen one another, but only by the sound of their voice and the conversation that inevitably flows.

Based on a true story of the film’s director Íce Mrozek, who also cameos as the room service waiter, like the film, the temporary lovers never saw each other. They embrace with their words, their softness, and the vulnerability we fear others to see. The moments where she tells the story of her mother’s friend who may be her father, or the time she and her sister sang for John Lennon and Yoko Ono, offered random snapshots of someone’s life that gives you a fuller picture of the being. A picture unfeasible on a 3-hour first date worrying how the other is potentially perceiving you.

Even during their hotel meetup, one they still endure without sight minus the moment of drawing one another based on the given description, by adding touch, taste, and smell, you see their feelings deepen. As a viewer, I yearned for the moment they would finally visually confront each other. The moment where sparks flied, and unfurled into the stereotypical, “I’ve waiting my entire life for you.” The moment where they retell the story of how they met, at their wedding. But as one who has experienced a similar brief romance, I understand the fear of finally seeing someone, when they already know so much about you.

My story dates back to 2016-17. Somehow, I was introduced to Reddit, and decided to create an account. I’m not really a dater, as there are too many limiting rules and regulations, that I prefer random encounters that turn into longtime love. Anyway, we met via Reddit…hahah…exchanged numbers, and started texting. It was late one evening, and I was tired of texting, but wanted to continue our conversation. So, I sent an audio message answering whatever question he had asked. Not going into much detail, he liked my voice, so we would interchange how we communicated.

Just from swapping from text to audio, we learned so much more about the other – the things that made us laugh, our different upbringings, favorite spots in our respective stomping grounds in New York. Our most memorable conversation was salivating at the madness and mayhem of the Fyre Festival scam in real time. Till this day, those non-stop exchanges still make me laugh.

Unlike Him and Her, we met up and saw each other a few times. But like Him and Her, it wasn’t a love story we’d be telling our offspring about. Just an out of this world experience of deep and fast connection, that we all deserve to have in our 20s. Opportunities that reinforce things not lasting forever doesn’t equate to failure, or rejection doesn’t mean inadequacies. They’re just chances  to understand ourselves, and others, without being beholden to what isn’t ultimately for us.

I don’t know if Mrozek has had any contact with Her since, but my Him reached out some weeks following the screening, after several years of no contact. Those tingles of giddiness and excitement no longer reverberated, and part of me chose distance in the responses to protect myself from a world that’s no longer for me. Without giving away the ending, I believe that brief period of time for Him and Her, is perfect the way it is.

Written by Independence Hall (in collaboration with Íce Mrozek), About him & her is currently available for rent or purchase on Prime Video.