Movie Review: Tell Me I Love You

By Thom Compton 26.08.2020

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Tell Me I Love You (UK Rating: Unrated)

Critics are a verbose bunch. There's a degree of fancy wordsmanship needed to keep a piece of criticism interesting, and whether that works is really up to the reader to decide. Sometimes though, something doesn't need a lot of explanation, and it's better to keep things concise and succinct. So, without further ado, and to try to make this opening less ironic, here's a summary of Tell Me I Love You in less than five words: It's pretty bad.

Oh, you want to know more? Sure thing. Tell Me I Love You is the story of Mel, Ben and Ally; three roommates and bandmates trying to get their demo accepted. In order to get the money to make this happen, Ben and Mel decide to get married to cash in on a trust fund her family has. Ally, meanwhile, to avoid marrying someone her mother seems to be set on her marrying, tells her family she's engaged to Ben. When Ben decides he should marry them both, the wackiness ensues. Cue the doves!

This plot isn't exactly winning awards for inventiveness, but that's why Tell Me I Love You is so astounding. For all of the films very short run time (it borders on short film/procedural television show length), it tries to inject every needless romcom cliché it can muster. Overly excited parents who make the situation worse; a gay best friend who's only character trait is being gay; a scene with guacamole that is painfully predictable (and wouldn't have passed as funny in 2000, the year the gag clearly belonged in). Despite all of this foundation, though, as weak as it is, it never manages to do anything interesting with any of it.

Romcoms live and die on being exactly that, romantic comedies. This manages to accomplish neither of these things. Dialogue is painfully stereotypical, and the fact that no one said "Live, Laugh, Love" at any point is a small miracle. The acting is mostly forgettable, and the chemistry between Ally and Ben, who used to date, is far less convincing than the chemistry between Ben and Mel. It's hard to blame the actors though for this, as the script is maddening. Things happen so randomly and without reason it's easy to imagine large portions of it were on a laptop that was lost the night before the pitch, so the writer had to write a summary of the original script - and voila, movie!

Also, for a film about musicians, the music is really bad, and abrupt. Scenes change so rapidly, and the music along with them. Not only is it jarring, but the music itself isn't particularly good. One electronic poppy piece gets way more screen time than it deserves (which is to say, any at all), and even the "bands" (at no point is it obvious what Mel plays in the band or her role, aside from a brief shot at the end of her at turntables) music is just forgettable.

Rated 3 out of 10


There's a degree of so bad it's good hidden in Tell Me I Love You, but it's hidden between moments so bad they're agonizing. For such a short film, and one where nothing of consequence actually happens, it feels like a chore to get through. None of the films interesting plot points, such as the whole bigamy thing, are ever explored, and that's probably for the best. For a genre so easy to make a passable entry for, Tell Me I Love You should be avoided.

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