Monday, June 9, 2014

She Loves Me Not: Movie Review

Three chapters about one writer tied together thematically but poorly executed.

“She Loves Me Not” is categorized as a comedy and romance, suggesting a romantic comedy, but that couldn't be further from the truth. It’s also described as being three vignettes. In that regard, it’s better. “She Loves Me Not” really tells one story of struggling novelist Brady Olinson (Cary Elwes), told in three chapters. While each chapter is distinct, the slow evolution of Brady ties them all together. 2013

Directed by: Brian Jun, Jack Sanderson

Screenplay by: Brian Jun, Jack Sanderson

Starring: Cary Elwes

The first chapter is titled The Assistant and introduces us to Brady as a has-been writer, now an alcoholic and doing essentially nothing to regain his place in life. The assistant is Charlotte (Briana Evigan) who lives with Brady, makes him martinis and struts around in a bikini. The tone of this chapter was exceedingly hard to capture. I suppose it was supposed to be comedic. Brady had a number of funny lines, but both Elwes and Evigan played their characters over-the-top which made it a very labored comedy and not particularly funny. It was also supposed to be romantic, but the 50-something Brady lusting after the 20-something Charlotte was just creepy.

The first chapter appeared to end abruptly with no closure; however, the way that storyline was wrapped up through implication of the events introduced in the second chapter was really well handled. The second chapter was also my favourite of the chapters until an ill-advised moment of unintentional comedy caused everything to come crashing down.

The second chapter is titled The Publicist and introduces Marcy (Caitlin Keats) as Brady’s publicist in an attempt to get his life straightened up. In this chapter we see Brady as still an alcohol, still a has-been writer, but not as abrasive and not against moving on in life. In an interesting twist, this chapter was full-on thriller and gave the film an interesting tone to keep us watching until the end. But everything good has to come to an end eventually.

The third chapter is titled The Keeper and is a romantic drama. The final evolution to Brady as a character was really well handled and was a good extrapolation from where he was in the two previous chapters. However it wraps his story up with characters that are completely under-developed and it also gives a closure which the Brady from the first hour of the movie is completely unequipped for and undeserving of. The final chapter didn’t belong in the movie at all and especially not as the ultimate chapter.

These three chapters all take place in one beautiful, but lonely mansion. Further tying the themes of the movie and the character of Brady together, is this house. As the movie begins, Brady begins a renovation of his house and the construction is always in the background or foreground. Also read it as, the renovation of Brady the man is a work-in-progress where the construction of who he is, is always in the background or foreground. Cinematographer Ryan Samul did a great job capturing the richness and emptiness of the mansion.

“She Loves Me Not” does a good job of tying three disparate chapters together thematically, including the slow evolution of Brady which further brings the different plots together (particularly chapters 1 and 2). But the payoff of watching a slow, bizarre, not romantic, not quite funny character study, was a poorly executed, ill-fitted romantic drama.