***SPOILERS – SPOILERS – SPOILERS –***
Please do not read this review if you do not wish to know plot developments
It’s straight into the sex, opening with a prolonged intimate, sensuously explicit scene. And indeed, the film is full of lingering sex scenes, which appear to luxuriate in their explicit sensuality just for the sheer enjoyment of it; resonant, really, of exactly what sex is about.
And while the sex is certainly central to this story, as is a sense of youthful discovery of life, it’s more essentially about love, just as the title would suggest. And it’s the pang of love which drives this tale forwards, weaving the threads of its emotional complexity through the fragmented timeline of a confused and frustrated narrator.
An unusual and striking editing style, persisting consistently throughout, of intermittent cutaways to black screen between scenes, and often mid-scene, effectively creates a strong impression of glimpsing passing moments of time, a sensation which is intrinsic to the overall subject of yearning for the irretrievable.
Claustrophobic, richly-hued, incredibly and unabashedly erotic, this a warm, serious and emotionally brutal film inhabiting terrain at once both hypnotically dreamlike and rawly realistic. Rather like the paradox of self-discovery perhaps. Or sexual exploration. Or love.
I couldn’t say I assent to every idea aired by the characters, but of course that's not the point of a movie. I can, however, affirm this is a beautifully realised and engaging meditation on universal themes of love, negotiating relationships, self-awareness and human frailty. Ultimately, I’d suggest, it’s a study of life in its meandering power to build and to destroy, to give and to steal, to enlighten and to mystify.
With lots of wonderfully sensual sex scenes, an incisive and often witty script, great acting, adroit cinematography, cleverly plotted storytelling, all beautifully complemented and augmented by an exquisitely imaginative soundtrack, I’m not sure what there could possibly be to dislike about this film.
Reuben's Rating: 9/10