Modern Love Series Review: Millenial love in heartwarming nuggets
The Amazon Prime anthology series features episodes with beautiful moments that are poignantly millennial and also reflect the complications of these relationships
Have you ever opened up to a stranger? Discovered strangely comforting connections in the unlikeliest corner that usually lasts only for a few bright moments? The memory, however, stays and throws up bittersweet ‘what ifs’. But these aren’t wholesome; there’s a certain depth to such intimacy, but also a superficiality that peacefully coexists. As one of the characters in Modern Love says, it is very hard to explain. Amazon Prime Video’s new anthology based on the New York Times column of the same name, captures this confounding emotion in its myriad forms.
The show starts out with a bang. The first episode captures love in its pristine and platonic best. Maggie, (a vivacious Cristin Milioti) finds an unusual companion in her doorman, Guzmin (Laurentiu Possa). “He is more than a doorman,” says Maggie to a perplexed date, who doesn’t understand the equation the two share. When we speak of love, usually, romance takes centre stage, while friendship, a more durable and sustainable version, watches from the sidelines. Milioti and Possa create a heartwarming tale of compassion and fellowship that feels like a warm cup of coffee on a rainy morning.
After such a beautiful start, the show disappointingly slips a bit with each episode thereafter. While Joshua (Dev Patel) and Julie (Catherine Keener) discuss notes on past love, Lexi (Anne Hathaway) waltzes into our hearts in all her bipolar glory. The first episode was my favourite, but Lexi’s story is the most important. We don’t get musicals featuring a protagonist battling mental health issues, do we? Again, one of those rare moments where love is more friendship, and that fortunately, doesn’t feel like settling. Talking about interesting chapters, there’s one titled So He Looked Like Dad. It Was Just Dinner, Right? What’s modern love if not a tad bizarre, right?
It isn’t that the later episodes aren’t good. They all have beautiful moments that are poignantly millennial, and also reflect the complications we have brought into relationships. But the road to that moment is too transparent. So, when Yasmine (Sofia Boutella) slumps comfortably onto Rob’s lap (John Gallagher Jr), I merely acknowledge the importance of that sweet moment in isolation. Or when Peter (Shea Whigham) wells up at the much younger Emma’s (Julia Garner) rejection, and asks “Why can’t I have emotions about this just because I am older?” Or when Sarah (Tina Fey) and Dennis (John Slattery) literally rally for their marriage. These are great standalone moments, ones that don’t get shown often on screen. But, my heart didn’t cry in joy as it did for Guzmin when Maggie gifts him a picture of her ultrasound.
Maybe that’s what Modern Love is really about. About how relationships have become more about acknowledging these great moments, and not focus on the time, or any other conventional barometers. And if that’s the brief, I am quite looking forward to Season 2.