Modern Love(Amazon Prime)
Directed by Simon Aitken
Rating: * ½
Why???? Why, oh why, did we need this new anthology of short films on modern love as defined by a director who revels in clichés of love and romance and celebrates them in a language so stale and stiff this could easily qualify as the most cadaverous love anthology ever.
I grabbed it because I recalled the 2018 anthology of the same title which featured a stellar cast in peak form defining love and its many splendorous aspects. The new anthology of Modern Love is a crashing bore even at 90 minutes of playing-time. In fact every story seems condensed cramped and , honestly, corny with actors who are not just unknown but also largely unable to shoulder what is clearly a bad bargain for all concerned, including us the audience.
It beats me how this anthology is a celebration of love when many of the stories are a repudiation of love. In one story a couple is cheating on its respective spouses , and the man fails to keep his part of the bargain about leaving his wife, thereby leaving his lover in a lurch. You see, all he wants from his secret lover-girl is sex.The story struck me as extremely anti-Valentine.
In another story which is shot entirely in freeze shots, a woman mistakes another woman’s friendly vibes for lesbian signals and ends up bitter raging and murderous. Yet another story, this one in French, has an English-speaking man catching his French girlfriend on the phone cheating on him on thinking he can’t follow her French.
Elsewhere an elderly couple sits at the dinner table without exchanging a word.The story ends with the wife uttering these famous last words, “I want a divorce.”
All these stories last no more then a few minutes barely giving us a chance to know the characters, skipping and hopping over issues such as abortion and adultery with the impatience of a google search rather than a feature film.
The only story that has some stability sensibleness and cogency is the one about aging man(played feelingly by Keith Eyles) exploring online dating. And the only time I smiled in this dreadfully anti-climactic Valentine’s tripe is when a couple after befriending one another online cannot say a word to each other when they meet until they open their laptops.
This anthology could do with a lot more warmth and a lot less clichés like, “Let her know your love her before it’s too late.” The segment containing this apocalyptic line is in black-and-white . Why?
Love Actually said it all. There is nothing more to be said.