You cannot manufacture intimacy and connection when it comes to love, but that doesn’t mean the human race will ever stop trying. In Ellie Heydon’s remarkably warm and relatable short film, Pragma, one woman decides to take control of her own romantic destiny. Will a little help go a long way, or will she learn to trust her own instincts?
Willow is excited to attend her course at Pragma, a weeklong retreat that guarantees its participants a true, lasting match. In a room full of people this beautiful, sparks will inevitably fly, but does instant attraction mean true love? Is true lust satisfactory enough?
When Willow is matched with Jack, she is thrilled because they initially made eyes across the room at one another. But Pragma’s cutting edge algorithm intervenes, and the program begins to match and audition other men for Willow to consider. Could her true love be an enthusiastic dancer or an intense poet?
Heydon’s film is marvelously paced and slyly funny. Lucy Heath reminded me of a young Helen Hunt, and Ted Lasso‘s Phil Dunster plays the object of her affection. They have an instant chemistry that makes their story work so easily, especially when they find each other’s eyes across the room in a more amorous class.
We have been instructed to find love by any means necessary, but Pragma reminds us that our instincts can be our best guide. Not every love needs to be a earth-shattering one, and you can learn just as much from an encounter or a failed marriage. Everything can inform your head as well as your heart.
Pragma debuts at Tribeca in person on June 10 and as part of their online shorts program on June 12. Come back this entire week for more shorts coverage of the Tribeca Film Festival.