Director: Gaspar Noé
Starring: Karl Glusman, Aomi Muyock, Klara Kristin
Gaspar Noe’s Love caused waves in 2015 for bringing actual ejaculation to audiences in 3-D. You heard me correctly; ejaculation, on screen, in 3-D. Unlike its Hollywood counterparts, this film depicts what is reported to be actual intercourse, actual orgasms, actual genitalia. The actors in Love are revealing everything they have, physically at least, telling us a story with their bodies more so than with their words. A bold concept, and not one that was phenomenally received. To push the boundaries so far while not wanting to be considered pornographic is a difficult task, as is asking your average American moviegoer to accept & appreciate what it is you’re trying to do. Because, ultimately, what we will take away from this fascinating film is that it’s the most adult romance we have ever seen, apart from XXX features, which, of course, aren’t romantic at all.
Having just learned that his ex-girlfriend has gone missing, Murphy finds himself in a bit of an existential conundrum. His current life does not make him happy, with a partner he finds tedious and a son that he may love but who he also blames for his current dystopia. Life before Omi & Gaspar was much better, with burning passion for a girl named Electra that burned all else away. An American in Paris, Murphy fell in love with Electra right away, beginning a passionate affair that might have been that special kind that only comes along once in a lifetime. But poor decisions, included bringing another woman into their bed, led to a bitter breakup, one that Murphy never did get over. And now that he knows she might be in danger, those old feelings & memories rise to the surface, threatening to destroy his current world.
So many things to quickly touch on with this film. First off, the sex. It’s the most adult movie you will see aside from porn. The sex is supposedly real, and it sure looks it and there sure is a lot of it. It’s a story told with sexuality in the forefront, with Murphy recalling increasingly explicit events as he looks back on this impactful relationship. So there’s that, and it definitely created a stir & should be acknowledged, but it’s not everything this movie has to offer. The story & characters actually grow on you like a mold, after a very questionable first hour. The movie is really quite long and feels it, but by the end I found myself inexplicably caring about the outcome of the tale. The music is surprisingly spectacular, comes out of nowhere, and shows some true directorial talent. There is one particular scene with a jealous Murphy and Snatch-like music in the background that I thought could be one of the best small moments I have ever seen on screen.
But I can’t sing this film’s praises completely, as much as I’d like to give credit for an adventurous theme told with real sex and raw emotion. That’s what it has going for it, but there is, unfortunately, a lot going against it too. It’s a bit of a ripoff of Nymphomaniac, complete with the vivid ad campaign, but told with a male main character instead of a female and lacking the depth of meaning that that film captured. Ultimately, it’s more 9 Songs than Nympho, with the added drug element that I never will completely understand. Also, and obscurely, I hated the lighting, finding it pretentiously dark & grainy, too artistic for its own good. And the acting was only OK, Glusman coming across as a poor man’s Jake Gyllenhaal while the two female leads have neither been in another film at all. That might aid in the natural feel of the film and of the sex, but it doesn’t exactly help the quality. Taken as a whole and sorting through all the confusing elements, Love was an interesting movie rather than a good one, something that I’m glad I took the time to see but nothing I can recommend, both too risque to be loved and too bold to be ignored.
My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆