Love Screen 27 articles



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  • [Glusman and Muyock's] ceaseless declarations of love notwithstanding, indications of genuine affection are scarce to non-existent. Except for being remarkably convincing in bed, both actors, Muyock especially, are atrocious. The lines they are given even more so, and the film never manages to kindle any believable chemistry between them beyond the strictly sexual.

  • Noe’s central idea is to portray the passion of a young couple in love, but what he succeeds in doing is conveying a set of cliches, some softcore sex and how boring watching that can get for non-participants. Rumour has it that the spoken-out-loud thoughts may now be removed, but nothing can save Love from the weak performances of the two leads.

  • Navigating a tuxedoed and high-heeled, rudely fevered and pushily eager crowd at the midnight premiere of Love that eventually started at 1am and ended after 3, the effort and exhaustion required to be provoked did not leave me in a generous mood for this plodding, wooden drama, repetitious and juvenile, yet imbued with an admirable degree of gentleness and affection.

  • Serial provocateur Gaspar Noé’s sexual odyssey Love opts for the cheap shots, whose originality doesn’t extend much further than the first 3D money shot. The gimmick soon chafes, with the format enshrouding the film in a frustrating darkness. But nothing drowns out the lovelorn whining of protagonist Murphy (Karl Glusman)... Any insight into young amour fou gets lost as he drones on (and on, and on).

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    Sight & Sound: Trevor Johnston
    October 30, 2015 | December 2015 Issue (pp. 62-63)

    The self-referentiality is blatant enough to raise a laugh, but we take the point that all this is very close to Noé's heart. Maybe too close for him to have any distance from it. That's the conclusion after 135 minutes of wearyingly trite improv dialogue and key performances that meet the project's physical demands but fall woefully short on observational credibility, lacking the basic charisma to lend a smidgen of soul to the life-changing events the characters are supposedly going through.

  • Visually the conception may be bold, but dramatically Love is a dry hump. Certainly Noé gets nowhere near as close to the intimacies of passion as Abdellatif Kechiche did in Blue is the Warmest Colour (or, for that matter, Michael Winterbottom’s 9 Songs), where the characters had brains, emotions and everyday lives as well as libidos.

  • The film’s much-anticipated threesome scene is a wonder, with the three leads’ bodies arching and relaxing in unison, like they’re all distinct but connected parts of a pulsing muscle... So if the sex is such a ball, what’s wrong with Love? The answer, unfortunately, is absolutely everything else, of which there’s more than you might initially expect.

  • For a film that contains an extreme POV close-up of an ejaculating penis (Noé makes full use of the stereoscopic photography), Love is a strangely limp affair. Perhaps Noé's reputation coupled with the hype from that promotional poster created a false impression. Or maybe the shock value has simply worn off. Either way, when you establish yourself as a boundary-pushing provocateur you will inevitably reach a point where it becomes harder to exceed people's expectations.

  • Whether the characters are pretentiously brandishing their cultural bona fides ("You've _never_ seen '2001'?") or speaking with an awkward cadence ("Did You Ever. Try Sex. On Opium? It's very. Chill") that probably needed to be ironed out with a few more takes, there's nothing about "Love" that a sound malfunction—or perhaps silent-film intertitles—wouldn't improve. The scene in which the American protagonist attempts to explain his victimization to a French cop brought down the house.

  • There’s virtually nothing distinctive about the film’s central relationship apart from the porn aspect. The problem with Noé’s ambitious concept is that it requires (a) world-class actors who are (b) willing to actually screw each other on-camera. As generally happens in this scenario, (b) wound up overriding (a); the kindest thing that can be said about Glusman and Muyock is that they’re not entirely inept.

  • [It] was surprisingly softer and less shocking than anyone expected from last night’s midnight premiere. It’s also callow, shallow and numbingly insipid, despite its explicit mélange of blowjobs, threesomes and orgies. (Seriously, how does one make hardcore fucking more vanilla than Fifty Shades of Grey?)

  • Love is as dumb as one might imagine... Although a straight-on cumshot was a guarantee, Noé’s use of 3D is unexpectedly restrained. Other than a few elaborate camera movements, and a small handful of in-your-face moments, Love doesn’t seem to be interested in violating its audience, but instead using the added depth to better explore the contours of the human body in the heat of passion.

  • From the first scene we’re inelegantly angled in on some protracted finger toil – but it’s neither especially heated or inventive. It was touted as “a sexual melodrama between a boy and a girl and another girl,” and that’s pretty much all there is to it: some open screwing, then some jealous arguments, then some clandestine screwing. Opium is the blissed-out drug of choice for these hedonists, and you can’t help but pine for Noe’s weirder and harsher-edged hallucinogenic phase.

  • This is narcissistic self-absorption writ large, and while Noé amusingly admits as much (as in the 2001-loving Murphy wanting to name his child Gaspar), the lack of self-investigation merely situates the film as a libidinal advertisement for a tantrum-prone filmmaker's delayed adulthood.

  • The problem with watching two hours of this, dressed up as narrative rather than pornography, is simple: sex is better had than observed. Feature-length porn scants plot because plot isn’t the point; here, the image breaking into three dimensions is ostensibly the point, but that image is tethered (half-heartedly, half-assedly, distractingly), to characters who defy the most genuine desire on behalf of the audience to transcend voyeurism.

  • Love handles sex unimaginatively, with the kind of solemnly static compositions and classical music that let viewers know it’s art. But its use of 3-D to visualize the energy and movement of cosmopolitan nightlife (also a strong point in the opening stretch of Enter The Void) is sometimes dazzling... Ironic that a movie that’s so explicitly about intimacy should only feel intimate when it gets its characters to leave the house.

  • [Mr. Noé’s] images hum with a melancholic nostalgia (remember pubic hair?), and his faith in the power of great sex — and a script that talks of little else — to support an almost two-and-a-quarter-hour feature is surprisingly sweet. And ultimately misplaced. As if all its artistic energy had been gobbled up by the fornication, “Love” has nothing left with which to build its characters or set them in motion.

  • "I'm a dick, and a dick has no brain." A stupid movie, in terms of dialogue and character, but Noe works in different terms, building his movie out of shapes, forms and colours, proofs of personal engagement - the baby's called Gaspar, and is that the underpass from Irreversible making a cameo appearance? - and shrill displays of emotion piled on top of each other to create the effect of a bad dream.

  • As with Enter the Void, Love is a vexing work: for all its many faults – shockingly ham-fisted acting, dialogue replete with faux-existentialist banalities, grating winks to the audience and Noé’s friends in the movie business, and, above all, the moronic, self-absorbed characters for whom it is difficult to develop even a modicum of empathy – the film at least exhibits a genuine capacity for creating an unsettling mood through its manipulation of audiovisual tonality.

  • This film is absolutely moronic. But Noé’s films can be so difficult to judge qualitatively because they’re so willfully tasteless, while at the same time being so generative with respect to a broad range of social and aesthetic discourses. And so beyond the inanity, one could just as easily engage with its knotty sexual politics, which are facile but layered, or its lucid aesthetic stance, which forms a nervy sense of high-low dissonance in the context of the movie’s sketchy plot and dialogue.

  • While there was no need for the film to be shot in 3D (a gimmick that is clearly utilized only to afford Noé the opportunity to render a few money-shot gags), Love is aesthetically accomplished, a beautifully composed, rich, restrained production boasting more flair and a much more impressive colour palate than any other tale of romance in recent memory.

  • No doubt about it, Murphy is a piece of shit: unrepentantly selfish, defensive, jealous, and philandering. Thankfully, Noé is well aware of Murphy’s shortcomings (no pun intended), and in telling the story through his eyes, lays bare the fallacy of love as an all-conquering, all-consuming force.

  • Love manages to transcend the numbing banality of eros in contemporary cinema by constructing its sex scenes in unorthodox ways... Noé's aesthetic in Love remains particularly faithful to André Bazin's suggestion that, because of the wholeness of erotic acts, the cinema is limited in the representation of sex. To Bazin, the image of penetration could not represent wholly what we should call a sexual act.

  • That Love fulfills all the titillating tenets of [the porn] genre is unsurprising; that it’s as simultaneously tender, touching, and even tasteful as its title implies is, for this filmmaker, the most shocking development of all.

  • For Noé, ever the showman, [3D] is merely a new use for ejaculation, but his pornography succeeds precisely because of its lack of ambition. Love is woefully acted, tediously self-referential and ideologically primitive, but it carries a surprising degree of emotional resonance. And let us not forget that unsimulated fucking, of which Noé’s film contains copious amounts, is documentary.

  • This is not a rich, novelistic tapestry of humanity; this is a solipsistic world, enclosed on all sides by the director’s ego. But the entrapment is vivid and poignant. Look past all the beautiful people fucking, and you realize that Love is sad in all the right ways.

  • Gorgeously shot hardcore sex and 3-D never felt so intimate. And sad. So very sad. You'll think about a turtleneck sweater and a door as much as an erect penis. And that lingers.

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