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Gaspar Noé is a fearless writer and director who isn’t afraid to buck traditional ways in order to get his fully realized visions on screen for all to see. The Argentinian born visionary is not bound by many of the mainstream hangups of what should or should not be. Noé embraces taboo subjects rather than avoid him, and in his case, the risks are well worth the reward. While his unabashed approach will not appeal to the grander audiences, there is a definite place for the works that he puts out there even at the risk of being shunned by certain communities or groups. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say. Well Gaspar Noé has gained a certain level of notoriety over the past 17 years with his style of film-making which is unlikely to change anytime soon. His latest work, Love, is an absolute testament to that.
Let’s talk about a not so typical love story here. Rather than the humdrum boy meets girl variety, Gaspar Noé tells a tale of boy meets girl meets girl. Love follows the life of a young American living in Paris while experiencing all of the finer things “The City of Love” has to offer. Murphy (Karl Glusman) is in a passionate relationship with his live-in girlfriend, Electra (Aomi Muyock). In addition to exploring each other in every way imaginable they decide to expand their amorous ways by introducing a third person into the mix. Omi (Klara Kristin) lives in an apartment on the same floor as Murphy and Electra. The three hit it off instantly, leading to explicitly fun times as well as the unraveling of a happy home.
The directing career of Gaspar Noé, which now encompasses a total of four feature length films, has gradually shifted its focus from explicitly violent to explicitly sexual. His second feature, Irréversible has one particular scene of violence that is so believably graphic it would lead to debates of whether or not the beating actually took place. And then on the total opposite end of this spectrum is Love which has some of the most explicit sex scenes seen in a movie that doesn’t have “X’s” in its rating. In North America, the majority of people begin to squirm and feel uncomfortable with the thought of explicit sex being inserted into mainstream movies. And yet, these same people wouldn’t bat an eye if beheadings were the only way to stop an evil force. With this in mind, movies similar to Love face an almost insurmountable obstacle. In this case however, the sexual nature portrayed is key in understanding what the characters are going through.
Putting aside the sex talk for a moment, Love displays a lot of emotion as the story continues to unfold. Murphy has his life turned upside down on more than one occasion and must learn to deal with the trials and tribulations of life. The same can also be said for the two leading ladies, Electra and Omi. Their eager willingness to participate in these sexual indiscretions cause permanent changes in the paths their lives were traveling. The pain, sorrow and loneliness begin to seep through the fragile facade of youthful reckless abandon.
The timeline is very non-linear so there will be a time or two that confusion might set in. Between that and the way that director Gaspar Noé chooses to portray his movies, your brain might have to put in a little extra work to wrap itself around the entire body of work. What Love is attempting to accomplish may seem a bit ambitious and maybe even a little offbeat at first. If you allow yourself to totally give in to the story at hand, it is quite engaging. Unfortunately many will never make it that far due to the overall subject matter of the film.
No matter which side of the fence you are on, Love is definitely conversation worthy. One important part that I chose to leave out in the end is that this movie was made to be presented in 3D. Think about what you might or might not want to see coming at you and make your decisions accordingly if you have the option to choose the format in which to experience it. Either way, if this type of subject matter does not offend you, the romantic drama is worth a look.

Love is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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