LovesongLondon Film Festival 2016
So Yong Kim’s Lovesong is a winsome, moving ode to love. About an ambiguous friendship between two women, it explores the nuances of their affection, illustrating that neither clear-cut boundaries nor rules prevail when it comes to the human heart.
Kim masterfully portrays the women’s relationship using tight camera shots designed for empathic impact. With several dialogue-free scenes, the feelings of the characters are portrayed through close-ups showing small gestures and expressions. Shots of their surroundings and details of nature create an anchor in reality. Riley Keough delivers a very pure, natural performance as Sarah with beautifully subtle emotional states. At first Jena Malone’s Mindy has the perky demeanour of a young Meg Ryan, but as the story progresses, Malone artfully reveals deeper layers of Mindy’s personality, achieving a poignantly realistic portrait.
Initially evoking sentiments of reality TV, Lovesong introduces neglected wife Sarah in a desperate state of mind because she sees her husband – ever away on business – only once every other month. She feels abandoned and cast adrift, having to raise her child alone. Dreams of drowning also echo her feelings of suffocation. When her old friend Mindy enters the scene, her visit reignites a long-held mutual attraction between the women. Unlike Sarah’s husband, Mindy is there for her and her child. Sparks fly and tender passion ignites; however Sarah then retreats to a safer, more conventional mode, reminding Mindy that she’s married after all – while seeming emotionally uncertain. Feeling rejected, Mindy leaves and returns to her own heterosexual lifestyle.
The piece then follows the pair’s reunion at Mindy’s wedding, about which the latter is ambivalent, and Sarah and Mindy’s realisation that they love each other and always will. There is the sense that both are tied to a conventional “script” and are not equipped to deal with the concept of homosexuality – and whether they even should is inconclusive. Eschewing categories, Yong Kim focuses more on the indefinability of sentiment and the notion that one should refrain from pigeonholing states of the heart, which are too immense to be boxed in by definitions like gay or straight. On the other hand, it could be surmised that theirs is a relationship of real love sacrificed to their fear of stepping away from what they know. There it seems Kim allows freedom for interpretation.
Lovesong does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch a cast interview for Lovesong here: