“Love” – Review

love-reviewGaspar Noe’s highly sexual film is about a nostalgic American man, Murphy, recollecting time spent with a past love when he learns about her disappearance.

Murphy and his love, aptly named Electra, spend much of the film having sex. There are scenes that are difficult to stomach and this will hold true for most people, even those with more liberal sexual sensibilities. But the course of the film leaves you much more open to the idea of sex, oddly, without sexualizing the act of viewing it. Sex is often love. It can often be positive, and sometimes it’s not. Mr. Noe shows us the difference.

Stylistically, Mr. Noe’s reluctance to move the camera any more than necessary makes you feel more involved. There is less of a barrier between the viewer and the characters and his transitions also create this involvement. The whole film screams intimacy through colors like vibrant reds, dark greens and blues, but there is no way of understanding the film without saying it is dark. The protagonists are often cruel and shout obscenities at one another. They take a lot of drugs. They are both somewhat out of control and the sex reflects this. In a way, it proves the madness of their love for one another.

The idea of the film is implicit: it is its pathos, its logic, its plot and characters, are all designed to show us something about ourselves. It is a courageous attack on the hidden, the private, the cowardly. And it is certainly an attack. He wants to make us bleed. He wants to make us feel. By capturing the image of the hidden, the forbidden, he exposes us all and in doing so, he tries to make our vulnerability virtuous. All we need to do is embrace it.

Cool frame – the worthwile shot: The frame toward the beginning of the film when Murphy lies in bed with his wife in relative peace. This frame represents an image of happiness that is slowly eroded over the course of the movie. It is nice while it lasts and provides an effective contrast to what is to come.

Title: Love
Country: USA
Year: 2015
Genre: Drama
Time: 135′
Director: Gaspar Noé
Cast: Karl Glusman, Klara Kristin, Aomi Muyock
Release date: Cannes 2015; 30 October 2015 (USA); 20 November 2015 (UK)