Romance, Simplified, in Love Etc.
As cutely contrived as any scripted Hollywood romance, Jill Andresevics documentary Love Etc. interweaves five year-long, New York Cityset narratives. Scott, a fortysomething single gay man, awaits the birth of twins via a surrogate; Ethan, a fortysomething single straight dad, falls for the mom of one of his kids friends; teenage Brazilian immigrant Gabriel falls in first love with overachieving classmate Danielle; a young Indian couple bicker through their wedding day; and an octogenarian songwriting team remain in love even as one partner starts to succumb to dementia. The etc. is ostensibly meant to encompass everything that is not love that can make or break a relationship; the subjects seem to have been cast to make the point that, despite demographic disparities, all New Yorkers are hopeless romantics whose love lives are stymied by the basic inevitabilities of daily life. That relationships are, like, hard isnt exactly a revelatory thesis, and most of Andresevics subjects seem too conscious of the cameraand prone to postreality TV empty confessionto reveal anything beyond the obvious (couples fight over chores, single dads are damaged goods, etc.). Andresevics B-roll is more probing than her A-rollshe often transitions between stories with voyeuristic inserts of anonymous couples kissing, glimpsed across the street or through windows. But the filmmakers choice of music for her Where Are They Now? closing creditsLove Will Keep Us Togetherseems more indicative of Andresevics aesthetic and philosophical intentions than any found moment.
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