Romance, Simplified, in Love Etc.


As cutely contrived as any scripted Hollywood romance, Jill Andresevic’s documentary Love Etc. interweaves five year-long, New York City–set 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 kid’s 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 isn’t exactly a revelatory thesis, and most of Andresevic’s subjects seem too conscious of the camera—and prone to post–reality TV empty confession—to reveal anything beyond the obvious (couples fight over chores, single dads are damaged goods, etc.). Andresevic’s B-roll is more probing than her A-roll—she often transitions between stories with voyeuristic inserts of anonymous couples kissing, glimpsed across the street or through windows. But the filmmaker’s choice of music for her Where Are They Now? closing credits—“Love Will Keep Us Together”—seems more indicative of Andresevic’s aesthetic and philosophical intentions than any found moment.