Directed by Gaspar Noé
Murphy is an American living in Paris who enters a highly sexually and emotionally charged relationship with the unstable Electra. Unaware of the seismic effect it will have on their relationship, they invite their pretty neighbor into their bed.
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★★★½ review by Simon Ramshaw on Letterboxd
★★★★ review by Joe on Letterboxd
What if love, but ... unhappy!
Another Gaspar Noe Specialty that I will not know how to feel about forever hence. The main thing I want to make clear is that on a purely visual, cinematic level, this is possibly the movie of the year. I'm not a big 3D fan and as a result I haven't seen much 3D, but this is how 3D should be used - Noe creates visual effects both obvious (smoke and, uh, everyone's favorite bodily fluid both fly into the viewer's face at some points) and subtle (a couple argue in a car in razor-sharp focus while the lights of Paris drift dreamily past them through the windows), and the whole thing is just intoxicating. He uses depth to put us inside a character's head or to make him appear like a fish in an aquarium, just really lovely stuff.
About those characters, though. There's a scene in the middle of this that shows the central couple walking through a park, and Murphy says his favorite movie is 2001 and reacts with shock after Electra tells him she hasn't seen it. She prefers poetry, and then goes on to recite literally the most obvious piece of poetry that doesn't involve a gentleman from Nantucket, and it was at this point that I started to wonder if this wasn't just some huge joke on Noe's part, beefing up the problems of shallow, pretentious people (one of whom is an obnoxious cinephile, a detail that I completely loved) into arthouse tragedy through willpower and expensive cameras. This possibility is never clarified, but never really eliminated either, so perhaps wise Murphy was onto something when he said "life is what you make of it."
★★★★½ review by Mark on Letterboxd
Yeah, I'm just as surprised at this rating as you probably are right now...
But this was actually kind of beautiful and fascinating in a way? I would even say that it was quite genius...
★★★½ review by Blake Williams on Letterboxd
"It’s been both amusing and disheartening to watch fellow critics lash out against Argentine-born “French extremist” Gaspar Noé’s new movie, a 3D porno un-ironically titled Love, for failing to achieve such “good movie” goals as “acting excellence,” “believable chemistry,” or “naturalistic dialogue.” Admittedly, Love’s execution of these basic tenets of narrative filmmaking is shoddy in comparison to other recent attempts to introduce frank sexuality into upper-middlebrow markets, such as Nymphomaniac (2013) and L’inconnu du lac (2013). Then again, Love isn’t really aspiring to narrative-movie objectives. By this I don’t mean there isn’t a plot; there is, and it’s indeed a very Noé-esque one, backtracking through a relationship’s trajectory in order to rediscover a blissful origin. But the way that Love works with time isn’t horizontal as in traditional narrative cinema; linear, cause-and-effect relations are hardly its chief concern. Rather, it manoeuvres through its arena of texture, light, and bodies—as Noé’s cinema so often does—according to jagged, up-and-across movements, starting and pausing its plot in a manner more characteristic of lower (pornographic) or higher (avant-garde) cinematic traditions, allowing the erotics, spectacles, or poetics to suspend our attention in bodily experiences. To watch one of Noé’s movies is to have been made hyper-aware of cinema’s faculties for manipulating our perception of time via components that lie outside of plot progression, character arcs, and acting abilities."
Read the full review (from Cinema Scope 63) here.
★★★½ review by Andy Summers on Letterboxd
I prefer my porn with slightly less dialogue.
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