Love or Lust
Ditched by his young girlfriend, a middle-aged man reconnects with his college sweetheart after 25 years apart.
Hello everyone Kevin of Film Fervor here bringing you another Independent film review. Today we will be discussing the 2016 romantic drama Love or Lust directed by Christian Belz Parentaeu, written by and starring Simon Boisvert. Also starring Izabelle Moreau, Jillian Harris and Bruce Dinsmore.
Love or Lust is a fairly unorthodox love story about a middle aged NASA engineer named Mark (Simon Boisvert) who while on a weekend get away with his much younger girlfriend Stephanie (Jillian Harris) finds she no longer loves him and breaks up with him after their seven year romance. Mark emotionally broken reunites with his old collage lover Julie (Izabelle Moreau) and starts a rebound love affair with her. Mark’s shattered ego and misgivings from his past relationships start to rear their ugly head however and leads to a major bout of jealousy as Julie gets a call to go away on a week long business trip with her long time partner and ex-lover Steve. Mark’s plight grows worse when Stephanie calls him up out of the blue and invites him out for a drink while his dream girl Julie is away.
When I first read the title of Love or Lust I inwardly cringed, I thought I was about to watch another cliched RomCom and boy was I ever mistaken. Love or Lust is a very cynical and at times clinical film about loss, jealousy and insecurity told from two different narrative points of view. Not only does Mark narrate the film in several voice overlays throughout the film but then dives into a third person omniscient view like a standard film leaving you with an odd sense of direction. This strange duel storytelling style never really allows you to immerse yourself into the story fully as you would in a standard film style. This is compounded further by the very hit or miss acting done by the principle actors of the film.
Simon Boisvert’s Mark comes off as cold and robotic which I believe is what was intended. The character is a raging egomaniac who is controlling and at times seems to down right be a sociopath and yet it is played perfectly by Simon Boisvert. By contrast however Jillian Harris’s performance of her young and vibrant Stephanie comes across forced and over the top with all of her dialog. Stephanie and Mark has supposed to been in a relationship for seven years but their on screen chemistry is practically nonexistent and even when they explain and clinical detail to each other what the reasons for their being together(And also breaking up) it is very difficult to believe. This is in part due to Jillian Harris’s underwhelming performance but also do to the very matter of fact and bluntly stated dialog. However this is forgiven by the very natural feel of the on screen chemistry of Boisvert and the other leading lady of the film Izabelle Moreau. Mark and Julie seem a natural fit and even with the same blunt dialog choices their relationship works in a way that is very believable. Izabelle Moreau’s performance is certainly a highlight of the film and works off the cold and off putting manner of Simon Boisvert’s character with warmth and passion. Over all the acting in general of the entire film just seems to fluctuate depending on who is on screen at the time. One place Love or Lust really does shine however is the production quality of the film.
The cinematography of Love or Lust is truly wonderful. The picture quality is some of the crispest I have ever seen on an independent film. It really reminded me of watching a Blu-ray quality film that is how sharp the image is. It never darkens inappropriately nor does it over expose the scenes of the film and they use a Steadicam instead of the ever annoying shaky cam that I loathe ever so much. Each scene is filmed just at the right angle to try to give the viewer the right insight into the life of Mark as he goes on his self destructive romance and you will never find your eyes distracted by unwanted visual effects so common with independent films.
The Audio work of Love or Lust is also top notch with crisp and clear voices heard at all times. This is absolutely necessary in any film but doubly so with Love and Lust as both the principle actors have quite deep accents that could be difficult for the untrained ear to pierce and would be virtually impossible with sub par equipment. There are no artifacts or unwanted sounds that many smaller production companies miss in their post work or are simply unable to do anything about due to primitive equipment. The musical score is thematically appropriate to a romantic drama (Not a comedy which this film certainly isn’t) and never once adds to the jarring effect that the strange narrative styles and dialog choices do.
All in all Love or Lust is a quite bleak look into a very realistic love affair that doesn’t sugar coat how things can fall apart when you are insecure with yourself and have very little in the way of warmth or compassion. While it has some strange elements from the narrative changes throughout the film and blunt simple dialog Love or Lust was certainly worth a look and at just over eighty-seven minutes it isn’t a bad way to spend an evening.
I give Love or Lust a solid three out of five due to it’s stellar production quality and unique male perspective in the romance world.