Love starts out with a moment of mutual masturbation, as a naked man and woman, positioned perfectly for a full-frontal view, pleasure each other quietly for several minutes, until the man reaches climactic excitation. And oh, by the way, it’s all in 3-D.
On the surface, this un-simulated act may sound like a tawdry, XXX-rated production – at one point, the 3-D effects put semen on a trajectory toward the audience – but Love does not seek to titillate as much as to illustrate that sex is a natural part of a relationship. Beautifully photographed, the film contains one of the best menage a trois scenes ever filmed. Indeed, in many ways, the movie strives to be classic art house fare, and the unapologetic sex is its strong (albeit unoriginal) suit.
Yet there’s a problem, and it’s a major one: The copulation is filmed in 3-D, while the copulators are written in 1-D. The sex here is supposed to mean something, but the characters are so weakly scripted that we are left with nothing to do but admire their gorgeous physiques.
There are worse ways to spend two hours and 10 minutes – even if the film is 40 minutes too long – but director Gaspar Noe’s underdeveloped screenplay leaves us wanting more. The minimal story – told in a series of out-of-order flashbacks and needless voiceovers – involves Murphy, an American film student in Paris (yeah, right) who falls for the temperamental (what else?) Electra. Their romance (if you want to call it that) goes down in flames when Murphy gets another woman pregnant – a menage a trois gone bad.
Almost all of the action takes place in the bedroom. There is certainly nothing wrong with that, but a little more character dimension would have made these between-the-sheet sessions a lot more charged.
Exclusive: Angelika Dallas
Director: Gaspar Noe
Cast: Karl Glusman, Aomi Muyock
Rated: Unrated (explicit sex)
Running time: 120 min.