Monday, 26 March 2012

Found and Lost: Two Versions of Love

I have just finished watching a delightful indie romantic drama called Like Crazy. Sure, it is just a tad pretentious attempting to appeal to the melodramatic film types (like me) and succeeding. But it really captures the essence of falling in love and the tyranny of distance, where months seem to be an eternity and the rush of dopamine that comes with love seems to be the only thing that matters. To outside observers the circumstances of the plot might seem just a tad to convenient: girl from London is studying in LA; meets boy. They date, fall in love hard and fast. They can't tolerate being separated. She decides to ignore her Visa and stay for a few extra months. Naughty girl.

The girl is more invested than the boy. She wants to move Heaven and Earth to see him. He does not wish to make such compromises. One wonders at his exact motivations. He says he misses her, but does not act that way. I rode this storyline through every emotional element. Although love has not lasted across oceans for me it may as well have. Without giving the ending away, it almost seems perfect that this great song plays over the end credits. It is very satisfying.

On the other end of the scale lies A Separation, a movie I saw a few weeks ago that I have been unable to get out of my mind. It is quite simply the best film I have seen in a long time. This Iranian drama is in every way the polar opposite to Like Crazy: where the former is dark, sinister and volatile, the latter remains sweet and endearing. However the central theme of both these films asks the question of how far the characters are willing to go for love? How important are loyalty and honesty?

Where Like Crazy enters on the verge of a relationship, A Separation chooses to throw its audience in the middle of its gripping conclusion, with accusations thrown left and right. However, A Separation is not just about the wreckage of a relationship, but also about the fracturing of honour and integrity. Where the beginning of Like Crazy argues that love can be easy, euphoric and happy, A Separation knows the truth. To quote Louie C.K. 'Optimism is stupid.'

What we have is two diametrically opposed films telling the viewers the values and drawbacks to the most complex four letter word in the English language. As to which version you take on board depends on your perspective. The word remains complex for a reason.

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