European arthouse director Gaspar Noé is known for his adventurous editing and dedication to probing the boundaries of discomfort, but his newest film is a bit of a detour. Love tells the story of Murphy, a twenty-something American studying film in France. Today, he has a child with Omi, and he is miserable. But years before, he was in love with Electra, a beautiful, outgoing young woman whose heart he broke when he cheated on her. Now, Electra has gone missing, and Murphy begins to reminisce about the highs and lows of their life together.
The catch with Love is that much of the sex is ‘unsimulated’ – that is, the actors are actually having sex with one another. Sex has long been one of the huge taboos in mainstream filmmaking, but Noé here argues that treating sex realistically will allow him to strip away the artifice of Hollywood cliche. Does Love succeed and mine any truly unique depths of the heart? Or is Noé using it as an excuse to film beautiful people having sex?
You can click here to read my full review of Gaspar Noé’s Love, in which I try to find the line between art and pornography – and where Love falls in that spectrum. Or, you can watch for yourself: Love is available to rent or buy streaming at Amazon.