Love is frustrating. Gaspar Noé’s ‘Love’ is frustrating. It’s self-indulgent, it meanders, and it’s long. ‘Love’ is a love story (I think it’s a love story, anyway) told in sex, and as an idea, that’s fine. Noé wanted a movie wherein the sex scenes are natural, where one can see how euphoric it can be for the people in it. And initially, he succeeds in presenting that. But then the sex here gets hammered in your face so much that you feel numb and desensitized by it at some point. At first, it is exciting – and Karl Gussman is definitely wonderful to gawk at – but I never rally felt much of what the other emotions that can be evident here. Characters are unformed – what else do we know about Murphy (Gussman) besides that he is a young American Film student living in Paris? How can one connect, empathize, sympathize?
However, I cannot totally trash Goé’s efforts, because as a technical medium, there is a lot to commend here – how he perfectly captures sex in all its glory, and i mean ALL. There are all forms of it here, perfectly preserved: blow jobs, mutual masturbation, penetration, closeups of everything – photographed from every angle imaginable. Sex is fun, sex is good, sex is swarthy – he gets them all. And he captures how all of it can contribute to one man’s longing. It may not work in the confines of telling a story, but it does in stirring an emotion. ‘Love,” whether you care for it or not, is art. It may be art that you take to, or will get repelled by, but it;s there, Noé bared a part of his soul there, and I have to give him props for it. It’s like being in a gallery, and you see a painting. I may think it’s shoddy, or rubbish, but if it stirs an emotion in me, then it will still be art. ‘Love’ is art.