By: Amanda Guarragi
And I Miss You Like A Little Kid is a short psychological drama displaying the spiralling and abusive domestic relationship of Jason (Chris Zylka) and Clarissa (Teri Reeves) in Covid-era Los Angeles. Inexperienced, depressive, and bisexual Jason falls for the decade-older and beautifully strange Clarissa just before lockdown. She celebrates his sexual and emotional self-discovery and soon she moves in with him. Shortly after entrenching herself in his apartment, she begins to flip on him, becoming a manipulative and emotionally abusive partner. After Jason uses self-harm as a cry for help, Clarissa blackmails and gaslights Jason into an impossible situation, leading him to decide who he is and whom he wants to be.
This film is a lot to process because of the subject matter. Even more so because it takes place during Covid-era Los Angeles. Structurally, it has such a simple approach when showing time passing. We see Jason and Clarissa’s first meeting, then their first date, and they end up getting along quite well. After Clarissa ends up moving in with Jason (within months) her perception of him changes. She pushes him little by little each month and we see that Jason becomes a shell of his former self. Clarissa entirely consumes him and takes advantage of him. Writer-director Benjamin Hosking made this experience for viewers as authentic as possible. It was all about the subtlety in showing what can be considered abuse.
Zylka and Reeves had to go to a very vulnerable state to pull off these performances. It is difficult to watch, especially if you have struggled through the same thing. The power shift once they both got into the apartment was interesting to watch and Reeves was intimidating. When we first meet Clarissa, it felt like there was something deep inside her that she was hiding. Then as the month’s pass and her true colours come out (under the pressure of lockdown), she is an entirely different person. Her intensity countered Zylka’s vulnerability and it was hard to look away from the both of them. At times, you could feel Jason’s discomfort and you boil up with anger at what Clarissa is doing to him.
The title And I Miss You Like A Little Kid works nicely because of Jason’s connection with his mother. It makes for a very emotional ending between mother and son. Even though this story is really simple and difficult to watch, the performances suck you into their lives. It’s a different way to highlight the subject matter of abuse and self-harm. Zylka and Reeves worked together extremely well that the heavier scenes felt gut-wrenching to watch. It’s a testament to them as actors because of how difficult those scenes can be. Hosking assembled a story in pieces that showed how different domestic abuse can look, especially with gendered violence. The power can always shift in a relationship and this film shows that realistically.