The first season of the series consists of eight completely unrelated short stories, each of which has its own title.
The first short story “When the doorman is the main person in your life”.
Maggie (Christine Milioti) lives in New York City in a posh apartment in a building with a janitor. She dates guys, but every new boyfriend she makes comes under strict control by a janitor named Guzmin (Lawrence Possa). Guzmin is an ethnic Albanian who has served in the military before and knows how to learn a lot about a person by looking at him through the crosshairs.
Novella II “When Cupid is a Curious Journalist”.
Journalist Julie (Catherine Keener) is dating the young creator of a new dating app named Joshua (Dev Patel). Joshua talks about his app, Julie is going to write an article about it. At the same time, Julie realizes that Joshua has clearly experienced some kind of painful love story, and asks to talk about it. It also turns out that Julie had a similar painful history.
Novella 3 “Take me for who I am, whoever I am.”
Successful lawyer Lexie (Anne Hathaway) meets Jeff (Gary Carr) at the supermarket, whom she really likes. They have breakfast together and agree to meet for dinner the next day. However, the next day, Lexie has a terrible indifference to everything. She suffers from bipolar disorder but does not tell anyone about it.
Novella 4 “To unite to support the game”.
Sarah (Tina Fey) and Dennis (John Slattery) are unhappy in their married life. Dennis is a successful actor, and Sarah believes that this profession makes him a self-satisfied spoiled child. They go to a psychotherapist, but these visits do little to help. At some point, the therapist advises them to do something together: draw, play sports. And then they start playing tennis.
Novella fifth “In the hospital, interlude of clarity.”
An unremarkable guy named Rob (John Gallagher Jr.) brings beautiful Yasmin (Sofia Boutella) to his new apartment. They are about to make love, but Rob unsuccessfully falls off the couch and severely injures his hand with a glass fragment. Yasmin accompanies him to the hospital.
Short story six “He looks like his father. It was just dinner, right?”.
Maddy (Julia Garner), who lost her father at an early age, turns her attention to Peter (Shay Whigham) at work, who is old enough for her. She is not going to start a romantic relationship with him, she needs him just like a father. But Peter, of course, does not understand this.
Novella seventh “His world was one.”
Same-sex couple Tobin (Andrew Scott) and Andy (Brandon Kyle Goodman) are about to adopt a child. The agency finds them one Emma (Caitlin McGee), who is in late pregnancy, ready to cede the upbringing of her child to this couple. But it turns out that everything is not so simple with Emma.
Novella eighth “The race gets sweeter closer to the last lap.”
Margo (Jane Alexander) is an elderly woman. Her husband died, she does not really understand why she needs to continue to live, but she has a son and life goes on. Margo even runs because she wants to keep fit. While running, she meets widower Kenji (James Saito), who has a hard time with the sport at first, but becomes more and more involved in these activities. And Margo and Kenji start dating because, as you know, the race gets sweeter closer to the last lap.
There is such a specific subgenre for films (and much less often for TV shows) – several short stories that are not related (or conditionally related) to each other in approximately the same genre. The most classic of this series is, of course, “Love Actually”, which brought to life a lot of imitations that could not even come close to the original.
Of the series, I don’t really remember a similar genre (at least in the style of a romantic comedy or romantic melodrama), but “Modern Love” is just such an example: eight unrelated and completely different stories, where the common are only the terribly expensive apartments in New York where the characters of the series live (or rent – in one case).
All eight stories are very, very different. At the same time, almost all of them employ good actors.
The first short story with a doorman – well, just for high school girls, with all due respect to the tastes of high school girls: oh, the Albanian doorman is tenderly worried about a girl living in an elite house. The girl is played by an interesting actress Christine Milioti, who I liked in “Hang in Palm Springs”, and here she plays well, as does Lawrence Possa, portraying a fighting Albanian (at least Jim Belushi was invited for authenticity, he is still an ethnic Albanian), but with the script there is little that can be done, this is complete crap. Primitive snotty crap.
The second short story is quite interesting, and only because of it I began to watch this season further. The character of Dev Patel (and I just saw him in The Legend of the Green Knight, where he played quite worthily) has a successful role of a person who has experienced some drama in a relationship, the good actress Catherine Keener plays a journalist who called the interviewer for frankness, well, Catherine Keener and Andy Garcia, who was also very nice to see, play their story perfectly – I really liked this short story because of them. And Dev Patel did not spoil the short story with his story.
The third short story about bipolar disorder and how people generally live with it – I also liked it (Anne Hathaway is a really good and strong actress), and it says important things. Bipolar disorder is a very serious disease, and many people (especially creative ones) have to deal with it, and they somehow have to live with it, and here one can only welcome the way it is told in this novel, and the way it is played .
The fourth short story – what is called, the middle half. I really like Tina Fay, I have a clear rejection of John Slattery, who played her husband, and, apparently, that’s why I didn’t like this novel. Although it is quite typical: a crisis in relations between a husband and wife, they do not know why they should continue to live together after the children have grown up and left the house, but the solution to this issue, in my opinion, was done quite primitively. And yes, I don’t like John Slattery. Did I already say that? I will repeat this again. Alec Baldwin, with whom Tina Fey played in “Studio 30”, was clearly asking for this – that would be cool.
The fifth short story is very tense. A spectacular girl who shoots her dates for Instagram, for some reason comes to an apartment with a guy who is clearly not of her level (this is explained at the end, but rather conditionally), and when a guy hurts his hand very stupidly, she goes with him to hospital. Well, she goes and goes: she can only be praised for this. But this story didn’t move me at all. Sofia Boutella looked good in the role of Yasmin, John Gallagher Jr. convincingly portrayed a ridiculous guy who is incomprehensible how a girl like Yasmin could fall for, but that’s all. I did not like. But I know viewers who consider this the best novella of the first season.
The sixth short story is interesting, I liked it. First, I really like actress Julia Garner, who played the completely crazy “dandelion girl” Rus, who led a gang of her scumbag brothers in the Ozark series. Secondly, I also like the actor Shay Whigham, who played the brother of Nucky Thompson in the great TV series Boardwalk Empire.
Here, in my opinion, the creators of the short story simply did not have enough time to develop the plot, but it was done and played in an interesting way, and I liked this short story. I would not refuse to see a full-length film with this plot and with these actors – the story could be significantly expanded there.
The seventh short story is such an exaggerated “new ethic” with all the relevant elements carefully introduced that I could not like by definition, despite the participation in this short story of an excellent actor Andrew Scott (how luxurious he is in the second season of “Fleabag”, where he even draws attention away from the wonderful Phoebe Waller-Bridge). A homosexual couple (of course, one white, one black) wants to adopt a newborn child, and this child is being carried by a completely stoned leftist who hates capitalism and capitalism so much that she is constantly homeless and travels around the country without a penny of money.
And the married couple respects her terribly for this, although when the aunt settles in their cozy apartment (and where else should she go before giving birth), continuously smokes joints and fucks in the last month of pregnancy with the first bum that comes across, then Andrew Scott’s character still dares to an indecisive protest, for which, of course, he immediately apologizes terribly, because the stoned aunt thus shows her bright individuality, and who are they to prevent this. Well, everything like that.
I am absolutely sure that this series will be nominated for an Emmy for the seventh novel and that it will receive an award. Without him – yes, hell there, it would not have happened.
However, I note that the bum, whom the aunt brought to the couple’s apartment, was played by Ed Sheeran, and although this did not reconcile me with this slobbering madhouse, it at least delivered a couple of pleasant minutes.
The eighth short story about love at a respectable age is made with such a large grinding that you can’t even talk about it – that’s right, a kind of sketch. Because there, half the time of the series was occupied by a story about how all the characters of the first season are connected with each other (yes, they are not connected in any way, they were just in similar locations) and how the plots or, conversely, the denouement of certain episodes took place. It looks extremely tense and somewhat helpless. But schoolgirls (with all due respect to the tastes of schoolgirls) will like it.
What is the result? The creators of the series were clearly trying to make a new “Love Actually” in serial format. They didn’t even get close. Subtlety, irony, elegance and skill “Real Love” is not in sight. Some novels are completely disastrous, others are tolerable, well, there are a couple of decent ones. That’s all.
It is clear that they tried hard, but failed. The phrase that the film shows, like, real stories told in the New York Times opinion columns, we will leave on the conscience of the creators of the series, because you never know who can fantasize something for the New York Times column: do not accept this all at face value. Yes, and it is clear that even these author’s columns in the series have changed a lot.
I found out that this series even has a second season already released. I won’t watch it, I’ve had enough of the first season. This style of storytelling does not suit me, I was brought up to noticeably higher standards. And the doorman Guzmin is just some kind of tragedy, so tell the creators of the series. Some incredible misery. And notice that I looked closely at Doorman Guzmin through the crosshairs.
Modern Love / Modern Love review
Director: John Carney Cast: Sofia Boutella, Olivia Cooke, Tina Fey, John Slattery, Julia Garner, Anne Hathaway, Catherine Keener, Christine Milioti, Gary Carr, John Gallagher Jr., Dev Patel, Lawrence Possa, Andrew Scott, Shea Whigham, Andy Garcia, Kit Harington, Garrett Hedlund, James Saito, Brandon Kyle Goodman
Series, USA, 2019, 32 min. melodrama, 2 seasons, 8 episodes each