[“Will You Merry Me?” is the fifth film of my “5 Queer Holiday Shorts for 2022” post. To read the previous review, “Adam and Steve“, click HERE.]
What a wonderful queer holiday short film! Directed and cowritten by Kevin Walls (along with Donald Cameron), “Will You Merry Me?” is a cute & romantic short that takes the nervous situation of popping the question along with the annoyance of distracting text messages and tosses it all together with a slight pun to make it a holiday short film. With a nice balance of cinematography, amazing acting, and comedic timing, the end result is a perfect queer Christmas short film. But let’s break down why it all works so well.
Synopsis of “Will You Merry Me?”
Emily is sitting at a restaurant table talking to someone sitting across from here. Cautiously, she starts to ask Jessie an important question – but hesitates. Turns out she’s alone and practicing her proposal, glancing down at the ring. Before long, Jessie arrives with her phone in hand and takes her seat. Grabbing Jessie’s hands, Emily mentions that she need to tell her something. Thinking it’s something serious, Jessie sets down her phone. But right as Emily is about to ask, Jessie’s phone vibrates with a text message, interrupting the moment. They both glance down as Emily stumbles… but she continues onward. Until another text arrives after which Jessie picks up her phone, muttering about work issues!
Emily quietly asks her to put her phone down, that it’s important. She puts it down, and Emily begins again. Yet right as she’s about to pop the question, the waiter interrupts and introducing himself before asking if they would like any wines tonight. He very slowly goes through the wine list, struggling to recall everything they have. Eventually Jessie picks one – but the waiter doesn’t have a pen, having the audacity to ask if they have one! After emptying out his pockets of random stuff, he confesses that he’ll just remember it. Turning to Emily, she asks for a Coke. After the waiter starts going through the list of the variety of Cokes, Emily interrupts saying she’ll just have a regular Coke. “We don’t stock regular Coke.” “Surprise me”! she replies as he finally leaves.
Returning to each other, they have a bit of a laugh at the absurdity of the waiter before grabbing each other’s hands again. “You were saying?”, Jessie asks. Finally Emily begins to propose again: “Jessie Cutler, will you…” and Jessie’s phone vibrates again! The both glance down at the phone and pause, Jessie goes to pick it up – but Emily beats her to it and dumps the phone in the water pitcher! Shocked at what she just did, the both just pause and stare at the phone. “I can’t believe you just did that”, Jessie proclaims. To which Emily counters back, “I can’t believe you’d rather be on your phone than listen to me!” Eventually they both start to laugh at what just happened. Thankfully it’s enough for Emily to finally get to the big question. Pulling out the ring, Emily finally asks “Jessie, will you marry me?” Jessie looks at the ring and Emily, pausing awkwardly. She opens her mouth to answer… “Pepsi,” the waiter interrupts!
To pull off good comedy, you need two things. First, you need a comedic script with the appropriate jokes and bits. Second, the actors need to be precise with their comedic timing. Thankfully we get both in Kevin Walls’s queer holiday short, “Will You Merry Me?”! And that’s not all, everything about this queer short is spot on.
Let’s start with the emotions of this queer short film, which have about as many ups and downs as a roller coaster. It’s clear that Emily is nervous about proposing, yet excited to finally do so. However Jessie would rather answer her phone than listen to her! So naturally, Emily gets sad and eventually frustrated. They both get frustrated when the waiter first interrupts – and then when he continues to mess up from taking forever to list the drinks, forgetting his pen, and more. And let’s not forget shock! Both Rachel Flynn and Angie Noir do an amazing job bringing these emotions to life as they bounce off each other. They give each other the right amount of pauses between lines, smoothly flowing akin to natural conversation.
However this ever-changing emotional ride is heightened by the actual situation comedy. We get to feel the same emotions simply by watching – and equally having to wait while the waiter finishes his list! And Donald Cameron is perfectly annoying as the slow speaking and interrupting waiter. But this plot device actually works quite well to keep us entertained, but to keep things moving along. By changing the focus off Emily and Jessie with the constant interruptions, their tension is relieved to start again. And again. And yet again! And because we didn’t have enough interruptions, this queer short leaves us on quite a cliffhanger – after being interrupted!
Quite frankly, everything else about “Will You Merry Me?” is of the same high quality. The short appears to have been filmed in an actual restaurant which provides a cheap yet realistic setting. If anything, the camera angles are a bit constrained because the booth is up against a wall, but the “over the shoulder” back and forth angles actually work well for such a personal dialogue between Emily and Jessie. It actually creates the first bit of situation comedy when we realise that Emily is sitting alone at the table, as no one is hidden behind the Christmas tree!. There’s clearly attention to detail with this production, as not only are there others in the background at other tables but also by the general sounds you’d hear while in a restaurant. Glasses and silverware clinking, indistinguishable chatter, etc. And underneath it all is a jazzy Christmas soundtrack. Frankly, if I had any complaint about this queer Christmas film is that the only reason it’s a Christmas film is because it makes a cute pun between the words “Merry” and “Marry”. The storyline would hold strong any other time in the year – and it’d still be a lesbian film worth watching!
“Will You Merry Me” might live up to its definition of a queer holiday short film coming in only at 6 minutes. But what an excellent lesbian short film it is! Proposing to your partner is quite a nervous situation. Will it go as planned? Will they say yes? (Let’s hope so!) Thankfully, despite repeated interruptions that end up becoming quite comical, the clear answer in this lesbian short film is a resounding “Yes”. And a resounding “YES” is the answer as to whether you should add this great short film to your queer Christmas watch list this year!
Queer Relevance of “Will You Merry Me?”
This holiday short film features two lesbians, with one struggling to propose to the other. It’s most certainly a queer film! And while you’d think that as of 2022 this wouldn’t be such an important moment to celebrate itself, we must take a step back and realize that there are still countries where same-sex couples are unable to get married. So it’s not only a queer short film, but it’s a lesbian short film – and either way, it’s quite enjoyable to watch!