That’s not to say that LoveTrue is those things first and foremost, but the various pretensions accumulate. There’s an emphasis on the elemental – woods, ocean, wolves, aurora borealis – that seems unconnected to LoveTrue’s theme of interpersonal love, beyond maybe gesturing to the hippyish claim of universal ‘oneness’. There are also several shots of characters staring mournfully out of windows, and allegorical tableaux involving actors.
The results are distracting rather than profound, and if you’re feeling particularly intolerant of the art school vibe it might bring you out in hives.
LoveTrue’s is an aesthetic that either works for your or it doesn’t; if it doesn’t, then you’ll find yourself gritting your teeth at everything from the faux-sketchy font to the achingly hip soundtrack by Flying Lotus (and even to that capitalised ‘T’ in the title). There’s a good case, however, for trying to look past the posturing. The three strands of Alma Har’el’s film are interesting and touching, with moments of real beauty among the ersatz.
Blake is a young woman living in Alaska, trying to cement her relationship with Joel, a man with hyper-fragile bones. Coconut Willie is a Hawaiian surfer dude trying to bring up his infant son in the same town as his ex-girlfriend and ex-best friend, the child’s biological parents. Victory is a singer-songwriter from New York coming to terms with her father’s infidelity and her mother’s estrangement. These likeable and youthful leads are all encountering the adult complications of love for the first time.
When it’s not glib, Har’el’s approach is humanising. She cleverly waits to reveal Blake’s occupation as a stripper, introducing her first as a self-confessed nerd dealing with a past of being bullied, and sympathetically delineates the conflict between Coconut Willie’s chillax stoner philosophy and his humiliation and rage as a cuckold.
Perhaps Har’el felt that these characters were insufficiently interesting without her arty flourishes; or perhaps she genuinely believes in the profundity of slow-motion footage and whispery voiceovers. But whatever its flaws, LoveTrue demonstrates that she has an eye for compelling human drama. It would just be better if she didn’t draw so heavily on her experience of directing Stella Artois adverts and Sigur Rós music videos.
|What||LoveTrue film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
10 Feb 17 – 10 Apr 17, Times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|