T.H.O.T? (2022)

For men dating can be about the finality of it, while with women it can be about the prospects and aspirations of relationships. “T.H.O.T?” isn’t a completely blanket commentary on the sexes as both genders are capable of garnering those mind sets, but director Jayson Johnson ventures in to the ideas of dating, sex, and how every single confrontation can dictate one’s future. Johnson conceives a pretty fascinating relationship drama, first delving in to how main character Kev dictates the way his night might go with prospect Stacy.

While in a barbershop, he and a few of his gossiping friends discuss Stacy and they wonder if she’s the Stacy “with the three kids” or the Stacy with the “no kids.” This puts a damper to his plans as he is no longer lost in his fantasy, but the complications that could arise if something does escalate with her. When we meet Stacy she’s a woman who knows what she wants and is interested in seeing where her night goes with Kev. But things don’t exactly turn out as she planned as Kev never quite shows up for the date.

Along the way, there’s the idea that Kev’s efforts to evade the baggage that comes with Stacy could have led to something better for her, in the long run. As she waits for Kev, she meets Isaiah, a young server at the restaurant she’s in who takes a liking to her. Their chemistry is almost instantaneous but there is always that lingering question, not just about the future, but about her prospects with Kev. Is Kev the right guy? Does he know she’s considered a “T.H.O.T.”? Does she know that he knows? Did she initially use that as a means of filtering out potential terrible partners?

“T.H.O.T.?” raises a lot of questions but thankfully that doesn’t hinder the experience Jayson Johnson builds. It’s a well thought and interesting take on romance with collectively strong performances; I’d love to see this transferred in to feature length format someday soon. I think there’s still so much to be explored, which is what makes “T.H.O.T?” feel incomplete.