Written and Directed by Gaspar Noé / Starring Karl Glusman, Klara Kristin and Aoimi Muyock
Murphy: A young person without love is like a sparrow without air. Oh, you didn’t know you could fly?
“The Management Warns You…” in the opening title card of Gaspar Noé’s sexually graphic film LOVE. And just in case unsimulated sex scenes didn’t make you uncomfortable enough already, the film is also shot in gloriously stunning 3D, happy endings and all. Noé is known for his subversive films that challenge viewers, and it almost seems wrong to call LOVE his most accessible film, but it certainly isn’t one that will leave you feeling raw and depraved like I STAND ALONE or ENTER THE VOID. This is not a movie about violence; it is, much like the title says, about love, told through the sentimentality of sex.
The storyline is rather basic; film student Murphy (Karl Glusman) lives with his girlfriend Omi (Klara Kristin) and their son Gaspar (yes, roll your eyes) in their apartment in France. Murphy gets a call from his ex-girlfriend’s mother, wondering if he has seen or heard from her as she has been missing for several months. This sets in motion Murphy’s recounting of his relationship with Electra (Aoimi Muyock) as told mostly through their sexual experiences, including how the three of them met.
The sex is graphic and real, which won’t be for everyone. The saving grace that sets it apart from sex for sex’s sake is how beautifully each scene is filmed and choreographed. The lighting makes everything look like a polished photoshoot and and the camera angles highlight simple moments, like a hand on a breast. There is a certain tenderness to every scene, even the ones that make the characters uncomfortable as they explore their sexuality. The camera doesn’t shy away and the 3D adds a wonderful depth that never comes across as too gimmicky, (save for one scene, but you’ll know it when you see it as it’s quite literally in your face).
The self-referencing on Noé’s part does get laughable at times, but it is, after all, his film. LOVE is beautiful, sad, powerful, heartbreaking and uncomfortable, but that is all the more reason to “love” it.