Monday, July 11, 2022

Love You Anyway: Movie Review

Unique and inventive, a powerful and beautiful tale of love and depression.
A character study slash romantic drama told in a format that shouldn’t work, but surprisingly does. Love You Anyway is an inventive indie drama and romance, told only through the eyes of home video (not real home videos, all fictional). If you’re like me, you’re immediately fearing a disconnected movie with hand-held footage, choppy editing and random vignettes of a young woman’s life.   2022

Directed by: Anna Matz

Screenplay by: Anna Matz

Starring: Reign Edwards, Charlie Gillespie

To be fair, there is some shaky footage and choppy editing and disconnectedness, but it mostly all works to effectively tell an engaging story of a young Black woman Mackenzie (Reign Edwards) and her childhood best friend Lucas (Charlie Gillespie). Since we only see her through home videos, we’re limited to what would be naturally recorded (for the time period we’re in: 1996 to 2022). That means a handful of soccer games when she’s a kid, graduation, a birthday, and when Mackenzie and Lucas are in college in the late 2010s they’re recording all their messages to one another.

Writer and director Anna Matz so thoroughly mapped out Mackenzie’s life that each little vignette adds a crucial element into what she’s going through. She was a soccer star as a kid along with best friend Lucas – which I think is very necessary to point out is a straight white male.

When their lives start veering off in different directions, the film has to balance the heaviness of Mackenzie’s predicament and the lighthearted innocence of Lucas, and it does so magnificently. This is a very emotionally-affecting movie and at this point that disconnectedness of the format does wonders to never cheapen the drama and emotion of what Mackenzie is going through. Lucas then has his own personal tragedy, brilliantly handled as it was throughout Mackenzie’s ups-and-downs, but also there’s an interesting contrast between how people handle different crises. Reign Edwards is remarkable in how she shows Mackenzie slowly breaking down, and she does most of that alone with no screen partner. Charlie Gillespie balances that performance perfectly with an opposite trajectory but ends up in the same place.

Each character – especially Mackenzie and Lucas but also the other people who come in and out of their lives – are treated fairly. They all make mistakes as humans are flawed, but the film gives a balanced viewpoint to each person. And once again, that’s thanks to its unique style and structure.

Eventually Love You Anyway becomes a romance. The disconnectedness which was an asset earlier is now a bit of a liability. The format forces us to rush through the romance and as a result the final act of the film is a lot more choppy and doesn’t suit the final narrative. But it’s still a lovely and engaging movie and a unique format that aids the storytelling (most of the time). Highly recommended for fans of unique indies or either of the two stars.

One of the Best of 2022