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There’s nothing subtle about Modern Love. From start to finish, Amazon’s romantic-comedy anthology series dials up the schmaltz and goes right for the tear ducts, offering highly bingeable stories of (mostly) ordinary people overcoming improbable odds to discover their own version of “happily ever after.” With its tidy idealism, polished urban cinematography, and maudlin score, the series almost feels like an extended public service announcement. But in a world saturated with stories of hate and malice, perhaps a shameless infomercial for human kindness isn’t such a bad thing.
It helps that Modern Love’s loosely autobiographical dispatches, based on essays originally published in the weekly New York Timescolumn of the same name, center around genuinely likable characters brought to life by an impressive cast (Dev Patel, Tina Fey, Andy Garcia, and Catherine Keener, among others). It also helps that these characters face some rather interesting personal dilemmas. In one of the more memorable episodes, Anne Hathaway stars as an outwardly charming woman who privately struggles with bipolar disorder, which plays a part in her string of failed relationships and career setbacks. After a cinematically riveting glance into the workings of her manic-depressive mind, viewers come to appreciate why her path to love begins with self-acceptance and courageous vulnerability.
Strength - Modern - Love - Montages - Facile
The real strength of Modern Love, though, comes when it resists giving in to rhapsodic montages and facile happy endings. Certain relationships prevail not so much because of some mystical romantic “spark,” but because partners choose to pursue one another through mutual vulnerability and hard work. Much of the onscreen conflict derives from situations in which people are adversarially “keeping score” with each other, or where gestures of care are beholden to an unspoken transactional arrangement whereby parties extend or withhold affection based on what’s in it...
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