My First Mind
I am of two minds about this short film…
My first mind understands that it is a straightforward short film that combines an attempt at feminist commentary and a fantasy revenge twist ending. The film shows a ‘nice guy’ badgering a woman who has decided that she is not interested in his pursuit of her. He quickly escalates after being rejected, text bombing her and trying to convince her that despite her stated desires, she needs to “give him a chance.” The film explores the indirect way that “nice guys” demand access to women as award trophies for their “goodness.” On this track, the film is a solid effort on this commentary. Likewise, the revenge fantasy ending hits all the beats of the killer Nurse who is justified in killing the scumbag trope. The cinematography is suitably dark and imposing, activating the offscreen space to stoke our anxieties. The evolution from “nice guy” to creep is done well enough for the short run time. We are fully opposed to Martin by the time he reaches the climax of the short film, breaking into Stephanie’s home with sleazy intentions. The film skillfully builds disgust with Martin, so we handwave Stephanie’s kidnapping and psychologically torturing him. The film is a solid effort.
My Second Mind
My second mind is confused by the use of the Malcolm X quotes at the beginning of the film (above). The quotes are absolutely true. Misogynoir, the intersection of anti-black racism and sexism, is a devastating social ill that is not given the weight it is due in social discourse primarily because the quotes are true.
Normally, such a powerful quote is meant to set the tone for the rest of the piece. Therein lies my confusion. The safe brown characters are indeed Black, but their race seems incidental. They do not speak to any specific Black issues directly in the film. There also is little in the way of symbolism or thematic imagery to suggest a specific treatise on misogynoir. Make no mistake, Black Women, like all women, do suffer at the hands of men who can not handle rejection. Black Men are the most likely culprits for Black Women (most crime is intraracial in nature due to de facto segregation and other socioeconomic reasons). Meet Your Match seems to bear this issue out cinematically, but the problem is whether one would make this connection with only the film’s images. I came in with this knowledge. And honestly, I am not convinced that I am not retrofitting this social commentary based on my schema. Z.L. Spivey Jr. may have intended to direct a film that was just revenge fantasy with social commentary and that is A-ok. Black filmmakers and actors are allowed to enjoy the art without having to make world-moving statements on global anti-Blackness.
However, the Malcolm X quote implies that was the goal. Ambiguity is a wonderful thing, allowing us to draw our own conclusions. But only if it is done on purpose.