Internal Obsession: “Love” (2015)
“Love” is Gaspar Noé’s least controversial and most emotionally accessible film to date; an astonishing statement when one considers that the film is liberally packed with scenes that even under the most charitable of circumstances might be priggishly deemed as explicitly pornographic.
That “Love” manages to skirt the discomforting sensation generated by films which embarrass both its makers and audience when naked exhibitions of heavy breathing are gratuitously intended only for exploitative purposes, is an impressive and welcome accomplishment in the cinema’s long struggle to effectively use unsimulated sexuality as a legitimate and contributory substantive element. If the film’s level of sexuality commands initial attention, it would be an injustice for a worthy evaluation of the film not to move beyond such shallow contextual controversies. Though the title suggests a traditional romantic diversion, being that this is a Gaspar Noé film, the odds are pretty favorable that the characters will, at some point, slip from the giddy orbit of amatory ecstasy and make a hellish descent into a crushing psychological anguish. Such is the mystery, the joy and the agony that is “Love”.’
The film recounts a single day in the life of young married father and film student Murphy (Karl Glusman)- the film either suggests that much is autobiographical in nature, or simply indulges in a jokester’s amount of self-homage – who receives a phone message from the mother of his ex-lover Electra (Aomi Muyock) who has been missing for three months. Rather than exercising an initiative to find his lost flame, Murphy surrenders to an extended session of brooding retrospection, which begins rather self-indulgently but eventually transmutes into a stunning wave of self-realization when he grasps that the consequences of his recounted collective mistakes in judgment have created within him a soul-stirring void of devastating permanence. By the end of the film it is clear that “Love” is less about the spiritual transcendence of ‘true love’, than the intense psychic pain which bears down upon and cripples Murphy; consumed with the scarring loss of the idealized recipient of his immutable ardor, he is rendered inconsolable.
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