Despite early frissons from the very game lead trio, the overall effect is a lugubrious turn-off. In its spacily numb longueurs, Love effectively invents a new, singularly unsatisfying genre: chill-out porn.
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In the end, Love is more silly than sordid, and even a little soppy in its late – too late – love-filled moments. Many teens will love it; most adults will roll their eyes.
Love plays out like the fragmented outline for a more engaging movie. But the one found here lacks substance both on the level of story and graphic reveals.
Love may not be as erotic as many expect. The gratuitous sex may eventually start to bore many viewers. Some may even take off their 3D glasses because they simply aren't necessary. Yet, for all its faults, Love is a film that somehow still resonates.
While the sexuality is pushed far too far for mainstream audiences, it's also true that Noe's conception of sentiment and romance pulls the film back from being truly transgressive about its gender or sexuality politics.
Though an entertaining-enough stab at a new kind of orgiastic extravaganza, Noé's Love is so mired in its own hang-ups and conservative gender views that it never gets past the first stroke.
If the metrics by which you want to measure Love are its brute sexiness and technical panache, then the film is indeed rather extraordinary. Thanks to Noe's regular collaborator Benoit Debie (who also shot such recent visually bravura films as Spring Breakers and Lost River), Love contains some of the prettiest shagging scenes in cinematic history.
It’s hardcore, yet much softer-core than Noé’s earlier movies, without the terrifying shock factor of Irréversible and Seul Contre Tous, and without the visual brilliance of Enter the Void, and Love is preposterous and badly acted and talky in a way that porn films haven’t been since they were designed to be shown in cinemas.
Given the escalating ambition of Noe’s oeuvre and the pornographic promo materials teased in advance of the pic’s Cannes premiere, who would have thought that Love would ultimately prove to be Noe’s tamest film?
So if the sex is such a ball, what’s wrong with Love? The answer, unfortunately, is absolutely everything else, of which there’s more than you might initially expect.