Eye For Film >> Movies >> Love Movie (2018) Film Review
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
Why do people say that it's difficult to find love? That's the easy part. What's difficult is finding it with somebody who wants to do things the same way. Lenz (Eric Klotzsch) breezes into a relationship with Ira (Lana Cooper); they get together for casual sex, happen to click and spend a long summer delighting in one another's company. But when Ira, approaching the point where her body is running out of time for such things, tells him she wants to have a baby, he panics. This isn't the kind of love he was looking for. Leaving, he tries to pick up the threads of his old life - but the other thing about love is that it's really hard to make it go away.
Love Movie is studded with representations of failed masculinity - troubled ships, lost planes, an older man who talks of the shame inherent in having a wife who goes to work. His flatmate sees himself as a success because he has a positive relationship with his child and his mother despite having walked out on them years ago. In one of the film's most amusing scenes, Lenz's mother reveals that women can have similar failings when it comes to the prospect of parenthood. Attending his flatmate's daughter's school play, Lenz watches as a line of schoolchildren try to stay in tune on kazoos. Why do people choose this? Does anybody get it right? Without role models, how could he ever work out what to do?
Love Movie peppers its deceptively simple story with surreal vignettes and moments of biting humour that give it a tone quite different from the usual romantic comedy. There are many different types of love under the microscope here; and it is also, every bit as much, a film about coming of age as one approaches one's forties and begins to think seriously about what one might want out of life. The chemistry between the leads is such that we never doubt their potential to be together and director Robert Bohrer ensures that we have fun too whenever they are; what's in question is not so much how Lenz feels about Ira but how he feels about himself. To move forwards, with or without her, he must dare to go beyond what makes him content and take a chance on finding something that makes him happy.
Bohrer has a sharp eye and the film benefits from great production design and costuming that help to flesh out the supporting characters. The complexity of other people's lives gives this more depth than most of its ilk and also contextualises Lenz's confusion, which is easier to understand in a world full of moving parts. Beyond what drink and drugs might deliver, there's no room for an illusion of constancy. It becomes essential to move to keep up. Lenz is always at his most vulnerable in scenes where he is still, too easily deprived of his agency by other people who seem much more sure of what they're doing.
With its dry wit and habit of undercutting its distinctly flawed protagonist, Love Movie manages to be sweet but simultaneously a little bit cruel. It's here that it finds its humanity, here that it might well win you over whether you're the romantic type or not.Reviewed on: 02 Mar 2019
If you like this, try:Big Fish