URSULA takes place in a near future, hand-me-down world in which water is scarce and anxiety is high. Set amidst an extreme water crisis, two misfits, Ursula and Stuart (Martin Starr), meet at a country music show. Their attraction and curiosity propels them into an experiment in optimism: a date. They rendezvous the following evening at Stuart’s house, stumbling through a series of missed cues and peculiar attempts at closeness. Stuart and Ursula retreat to the bathroom to smoke some weed, but failure to connect seems imminent, and Stuart develops an ominous hostility, bringing with it an air of menace.

Just as this tension is reaching a fever pitch, Stuart’s asthmatic brother, needing the bathroom, startles the couple, knocking a knife from the counter and piercing Stuart’s foot. As the blood pools, we shift genre into a suspended state of magical realism, accompanied by an outpouring of honesty. Our two protagonists are wholly disarmed and descend into deferential candor, finding warmth and connection.

Their ultimate bonding is an ode to the anxiety of desire, an acknowledgment that we all wish to be a person of consequence, but in the end, what truly matters is if someone is able to see us and, in turn, to be seen themselves. As the blood levels quite literally rise, Ursula and Stuart go under, having in a small way, triumphed.