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“Uncomplicated” Review: Dating with a Chronic Illness

poster for "Uncomplicated" by Juliet Romeo featuring the two lead actors looking at each other in a dark environmentJuliet Romeo’s short film, “Uncomplicated”, shows the complexities of dating and relationships while living with a chronic illness, specifically sickle cell disease, a condition rarely portrayed in media.

Clare is begrudgingly getting ready to go on a date with Paul set up by the app, Uncomplicated. Her sister says, “Just try to have a little bit of fun tonight. What’s the worst that can happen?”

During the date, Clare struggles to hide her sickle cell anemia, running to the bathroom to turn on her oxygen concentrator hidden in her purse when her watch alarms her that her oxygen is too low.  Paul assumes she is not enjoying the date, but Clare starts to say, “it’s complicated”, when Paul states, “Please don’t say complicated: it’s the one thing the app promised this wouldn’t be.”

The couple end up going off the grid and have a great time getting to know each other, until Clare realizes she left her phone in the restaurant, which she needs as she is on a waitlist for a life-saving bone-marrow transplant. Things then get complicated.

The film is an honest portrayal of dating with a chronic illness and the struggles of deciding whether and when to disclose. Romeo also artfully uses humor to demonstrate the issues of dealing with a medical system that does not listen to disabled people, and especially disabled black women.

A key aspect of the film is the inclusivity and authentic representation of people with sickle cell, from production to the screen. Romeo shares, “During the production, it was important to me to have inclusive and accessible set locations. I also hired actors, musicians, and music composers with sickle cell. Representation in front of the camera and behind the camera was important for me to showcase.”

“Uncomplicated” premieres April 29th 6PM at WEG Weekend at MAD Studios in Dania Beach, FL. An award-winning writer and director, Romeo is an alumni of RespectAbility’s 2021 Entertainment Lab. She also is currently a Communications Fellow at RespectAbility.

Meet the Author

Emily Tironi

Emily Tironi is a Communications Apprentice in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Fall 2022. She majored in Media Arts at SUNY Adirondack, learning graphic design. Wanting to learn more about disability advocacy, she went on to earn her bachelors in disability studies from The CUNY School of Professional Studies.

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