Benny Blanco sits on his piano bench and waves hello. The narration introduces him. His dogs sit on the couch. One dog yawns. At the recording studio, he dances as he produces music, which the narration points out. Khalid sings in the studio. The narration also introduces him. In his backyard, he grills hot dogs and eats in a cafeteria. He plays a game of basketball. Holding a pillow tight to his chest on an airplane, he stares right ahead.
The narration explains some electrical wires and a grassy field as Virginia. Several trees hide a part of a condominium. At an empty park, the narration says, is where Blanco got high. It further says that he went to a nondescript, rectangular shaped junior high and met a girl he liked in one of his classes. She answered yes to going out with him in the hallway. During class, he freaked out and left school for the day.
Halsey, introduced with her real name, Ashley, lies in bed. She shakes her head as she sings in the recording studio. While performing at her concert, she bends down and touches the stage. The narration explains she grew up in a rural area of New Jersey. She hung out in the computer lab and drew the yearbook design for her high school. She worked at the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and experiencing being in love with a girl while swimming at camp. They kissed in the bathroom. Halsey told her mom about being with a girl and her mother accepted it.
The girl, who he met in junior high, now in her mid-20s, brushes away from her hair from her face. She pets her dog on the steps of her home. The narration says she forgot about Blanco. However, in junior high, she was grieving her mother who had passed away and had begun to act out.
She checks her phone among the stacks of boxes and sorted piles in her home. Footage from junior high shows Ash and Blanco square dancing.
Benny Blanco and Halsey were the artistic kids growing up in their towns. Blanco lived in a middle class area with easy access to marijuana. As a teenager, he would eat everything in the refrigerator once returned home school. However, it got him interested in cooking. Although he feels the most comfortable with the grill. He didn’t really have a steady job and his parents helped him out with his bills. He had friends but they were mostly outsiders like him.
It was Ash, though, in junior high, who made him feel as though he belonged. It took him weeks to get up the nerve to talk to her and ask her to see a movie with him. He hadn’t expected her to say yes. Although they had one awkward date, they had moved on by high school and didn’t talk much.
Halsey, though, worked on the weekends and went to summer camp. She had friends on the yearbook staff and in the computer lab. It was a teenager, in her somewhat rural town, she realized she liked girls. She and her parents had discussed LGTBQ rights with her as a child, telling her it was okay to love whomever she wanted. On the way home from camp, she asked if she did something wrong with the other girl as she sobbed. Her mother told her it was okay.
Ash often searched through Youtube and thought she recognized the name, Benny Blanco. Her friends said they went to school together. She didn’t remember at first. However, it wasn’t until his publicist contacted him and explained how much he loved her as a kid. She was touched and finally remembered who he was. He was a sweet guy. However, she was too messed up at the time to really fall in love with him.
Khalid sings. Unfortunately, the narration declines to share any stories about Khalid’s first love or job. Although he is mentioned, it’s in passing. He is something the narration has to run through quickly as a requirement and deems Halsey as the important topic. Khalid, with his accomplishments erased, is put in his place.
Director: Jake Schreier Year: 2018