Many of us have had that experiences where it’s hard to move on from someone you’d rather forget. Oren Brimer takes you inside the head of someone haunted by memories of an ex.
See You Around is a short movie that follows Thomas who struggles to move on from someone he’d rather forget. In the movie, we can see that Thomas can’t stop seeing his ex-girlfriend. In everyone. Even when he seeks help from a therapist, he sees his ex as the therapist. Not only breaking his heart (and his head), but it’s also breaking his chance to have a new romantic experience.
The thing that struck me from this movie is the idea of “Hope Monster.” The therapist tries to tell Thomas that there’s a monster called “Hope Monster” living inside him. Every time he tries to contact his ex-girlfriend, he’s feeding this monster. This means he’s keeping this monster alive. This means he’s keeping the hope that things can still work between him and her alive. Thomas’ situation is very common that many of us can relate to his story. We’ve all had a “Hope Monster” inside us.
For me personally, when we still try to contact that person we’d rather forget, there are two possibilities: either we’re feeding the “Hope Monster” that it grows bigger, or we are convincing ourselves that it’s not working anymore. You will find out which one finally happen to Thomas at the end of the movie.
The battle Thomas has (and we have) is not simply with his “Hope Monster.” But it’s the battle between head vs. heart that kills his head. We know exactly that we should stop thinking about this person. Some of us even know exactly that this person is not worth it. But we’re in a position where our heads are weaker than our hearts that we just go irrational.
I talked to the director Oren Brimer about the short. It was a short q&a, but I realized there were so much more to learn from Thomas’ situation than it might appear to be. Especially as it turns out See You Around was inspired by a real-life experience.
See You Around is a very relatable story to most people. How did the idea come to you? Was Thomas’ situation inspired by someone’s personal experience?
The idea for See You Around came to me long after the breakup that inspired it. Years after my traumatic split with a girlfriend, memories of the relationship still plagued me, especially as I walked around New York City. Memories connected ordinary places, songs and words to this girl and refused to separate.
I wanted to create the visual version of this feeling; to get inside the head of someone haunted by memories of an ex. I sought to explore all the ways you cope with that feeling, how it can set you up for future romantic failings, and how your friends are there for you even if you aren’t ready to accept their help.
What advice would you give to Thomas or other people out there who are having similar situations?
The more I’ve discussed the premise of my film, the more I realize how universal this experience is. Everyone has gone through heartbreak that has lingered on for too long. Hopefully, this film will help people see that it’s not the person you are pining for, but the memory of that person. Separate the two, and you’re well on your way to getting over it.
I feel that at a person’s core, they just want to be loved and wanted. When you go through a breakup, you’re experiencing the harsh reality that someone doesn’t want you anymore, and your brain goes into a panic and starts strategizing all the ways you can avoid and deny that reality.
I really like the idea of “Hope Monster”, where did you get the idea?
The Hope Monster idea was something I’ve thought about a lot when dealing with breakups. I feel that at a person’s core, they just want to be loved and wanted. When you go through a breakup, you’re experiencing the harsh reality that someone doesn’t want you anymore, and your brain goes into a panic and starts strategizing all the ways you can avoid and deny that reality. That’s the Hope Monster; the part of you that refuses to move on from the relationship, even though deep down you know it’s over.
Time heals mostly everything. There will be the time when we’re finally able to kill our “Hope Monsters,” or when we’re finally strong enough to let our heads win its battle with our hearts. Someone told me that even if we miss this person again later, we don’t have to deny that. Because sometimes you just miss the person you no longer want in your life, and it’s okay.
Oren Brimer is a writer and director. He was the Co-Executive Producer, Writer and Segment Director for The Pete Holmes Show, created field pieces for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and has directed for Comedy Central, Conan, and CollegeHumor. Brimer is currently a writer and producer on Crashing a new HBO series starring Pete Holmes (the Therapist in See You Around) and executive produced by Judd Apatow. He is also expanding upon the concept of See You Around and breaking it into a feature film.
Elsa Hestriana, 2016.