Review: Love Etc.

by Ariana Anderson

Love Etc., a charming documentary to be released July 1st in New York, follows five stories of New Yorkers at very different stages in their romantic lives.  Inspired by the diversity of the lines of couples at the New York City Hall Marriage Bureau (which are about to get even more diverse, hooray!), Executive Producer Jonathon Tisch wanted to document this “microcosm of the world” in a film that anyone can relate to.

On the youthful end of the spectrum of couples, we are presented with high school sweethearts, Gabriel and Danielle. They are one another’s first loves, but now they must deal with the difficulties of navigating their future together as their college plans pull them to separate states.

We watch Chitra and Mahendra in their preparation for marriage, their big traditional Indian wedding, and throughout their struggles in their first year of marriage. It’s refreshing to have the more difficult aspects of newlyweds marital life explored on film. While their story isn’t quite the ideal fairy tale, the sympathetic characters gave me great hope for their future together.

Ethan, a divorced father of two teenagers, complains about being inept in the kitchen, and he believes that having a woman in his life would make his life much easier. He searches everywhere, including on-line dating sites, but he is constantly confronted with the realities and challenges of dating as a middle-aged single father.

Scott, a successful NY director, desperately wants children, and has left a previous boyfriend to do so. He decides to have a child with a surrogate. He anxiously and enthusiastically prepares as intensely for becoming a parent as if he were preparing for the production of a play, as he says, but he longs to have someone with whom he can share the joys of life and parenthood.

Albert, age 79, and Marion, age 89, completely steal the spotlight. They’ve been together for 49 years, but Albert says, “It seems like 49 seconds.” Their evident love for one another and show-business is incredibly endearing as they continue to seek musical success. Even as Marian struggles with dimentia she maintains her sass; “I don’t know how ‘good girls’ do things,” she quips at one point.

The film isn’t perfect; it lacked any women not in a heterosexual relationship, yet included two single men, which irked me. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. Realistic and bittersweet, it can appeal to a very wide audience—not only would I enjoy seeing it with my best friend, but it’s the kind of movie I would love to watch with my grandparents. 

92Y will host “Sneak Preview” Tuesday, June 28th at 7:15PM followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers moderated by Today Show’s Hoda Kotb. Tickets available here.

Love Etc. will be released in theaters New York July 1st, Los Angeles July 15th, Philadelphia and San Diego July 22nd, and Boston July 29th. Check out their website for more details.

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