Looking for Love
What makes a healthy relationship? Why do so many fail? And what is love?
It takes a slightly different type of documentary to actually answer these questions. Director Menelik Shabaaz has made a kind of “self-help film” that examines the world of romance, dating and sex in the black British community. Promising to deliver “the raw truth”, every aspect of the modern relationship is covered, from online dating to friends with benefits, and the film even dares to broach the ever-contentious question of whether women actually need men. Talking heads abound, with interviewees passionately sharing their thoughts and experiences of a certain four letter word.
Although the range of people interviewed is impressive, few have much evidence to back up their claims. The links between certain issues seem tenuous at best: it is briefly suggested that the historical enslavement of black people affects their relationships today, and that young black men don’t respect women because they grow up watching their mothers not respecting themselves. These remarks need much more investigation but, instead, the film moves swiftly on to shots of hyper-sexualised black women at a carnival – an area of black culture that is never addressed.
For a film that purports to examine all aspects of love, it is surprising that there is so little variation in the types of relationships shown: same-sex relationships, interracial relationships and couples with children don’t appear. The focus is too narrow, resulting in lots of different issues being covered too quickly. The brevity of the focus combined with shallow discussions and misplaced comedy make the film long and tiresome; this is a documentary about love that fails to inspire much emotion.
Looking for Love is released nationwide on 21st August 2015.
Watch the trailer for Looking for Love here: