I wasn’t looking at the screen when Gaspar Noe’s Love started—I was looking at my laptop—and the first thing I hear is Bean saying, ‘Well, dang.’ I look up and, on my Netflix-showing screen is a woman stroking a very erect dick with her face right next to it while a dude is enthusiastically fingering her. It wasn’t lit in a typical porny way—where you could do surgery—but, I mean. To quote Bean again, ‘No credits, no nothing.’
‘Well, dang.’ Indeed.
That went on for awhile.
I generally start my reviews with the plot, but this film did not start with plot. It started with a very erect dick and enthusiastic fingering first thing.
Then it got into the plot.
So here’s the plot.
American bro Murphy (Karl Glusman) is in Paris studying film. He starts off in a tumultuous relationship with Frenchwoman Electra (Ayomi Muyock). A sixteen year old, Omi (Klara Kristin), moves in next door to them and the three of them fall into bed. That scene was very hot. Kristin is rather limber. [The sex scenes were not choreographed. Props to the actors.]
The film jumps around in time and it’s not always easy to tell how much time has passed between events in their lives. But Murphy and Electra had experimented with group sex (sorta) at a club meant for that sort of thing, which had been recommended to them by a cop after Murphy tried to punch out a guy because he’s so American. It makes sense in the film, I promise.
So by the time Omi shows up (the actress was 22 when they shot the film for your peace of mine) the couple is already more open to the idea of being with others.
But then bad things happen because monogamy is best—Love is not really pro-open relationships. I’m not sure what this film is trying to say. On one hand, everyone is supposed to be open to doing everyone else and not jealous. On the other, when they do everyone else and get in touch with their sexuality, they end up screaming and fighting. It’s all high-drama and miserable.
Is it a French thing I don’t get? My sensibilities are very Anglo-American. Civil, quiet, let’s discuss this rationally if we have to discuss it. It’s a fundamentally different way of approaching … life. The universe. Everything.
Watching this film I was not seeing ‘love’. I saw ‘poor communication’ and ‘needless angst’. Both of which would make great punk band names.
The film tended to be either sex scenes or dramatic scenes of some general unhappiness or voice-overs of what was going through Murphy’s head (nothing good) as a result of his terrible life choices. And he made those choices because of love? Was that the message? Damn, that’s depressing. I would love to know what other people thought.
Love is one of those long movies (2 hrs and 15 minutes) that feels long. The more of these I see the more I appreciate Lars von Triers’ ability to make a long film feel like a film of normal length.
Noe used different color filters to signify time, as the film jumps around between past and present, but it was still difficult to keep up with the timeline.
If you’ve ever tried to watch porn past the point of libidinous interest—that’s what the sex in this film is like. Bean summed it up nicely when she said, ‘They could have cut a third of the sex scenes.’ Maybe if the sex had been kinky or, I don’t know, just… something different it would have been less tedious.
My favorite part was during the threesome. Omi is between Murphy and Electra—she’s facing Electra and they’re having this sweet, intense connection and Murphy is behind her, humping away like a troll. It’s hilarious the difference in the expressions. Looking at the women it’s like he’s not even there and he’s all grrr hurf grrf ruuuff mrrrff.
Okay, he doesn’t make any sounds, but that’s probably what’s going through his mind.
Overall, I have to damn this one with faint phrase and say it was all right. It wasn’t the depressingness of it—I like a depressing film and I certainly don’t mind some American-bashing. I’m glad I didn’t see it in 3D, and it had a lot of same-y sex (which is different from same sex sex). And its depiction of non-monogamy left something to be desired. Meh. If you want to be able to see a lot of real (and very realistic) sex on Netflix wrapped up in a depressing story about people in messed up relationships —go for it.
Oh yes, there is an actual money shot. Right at the camera. Super up close. Guys, if you’ve ever wondered what a facial is like—this is going to be pretty close while still being hygienic.