"Lust for Love" Review

Four of the actors from Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, Fran Kranz, Dichen Lachman (who was also a producer of the film), Enver Gjokaj, and Miracle Laurie reunite for a Kickstarter-funded project, written and directed by Australian filmmaker Anton King. Lust for Love premiered on Saturday, February 1 in Hollywood with many of the contributing Kickstarters in attendance.

Lust for Love follows Astor (Fran Kranz) as he seeks to win the heart of Mila (Beau Garrett), a girl he has loved since childhood. He seeks the counsel of her estranged friend, Cali (Dichen Lachman), and she begins coaching him on how to become a confident ladies' man, desensitised and apathetic towards rejection. Astor is an excruciatingly awkward character and his fumbling attempts to apply Cali's various pieces of advice to pick up womyn had me repeatedly hiding my face in my hands and laughing uncomfortably. Kranz delivers a tremendous performance that resonates with people's experiences of struggling with confidence and navigating the ins and outs of dating/relationships.

Lust for Love's focus is not a simple repeat of the "guy gets the girl" trope. The leads of this film are interesting, dynamic, and realistically flawed individuals. Cali is a cool modern woman with nothing to prove. She has a healthy appreciation for sex, but at no point is served up as a sexual object. She's not seeking romance or an archaic fairytale ending. Lachman's delivery is natural, understated, and it was highly refreshing to hear her perform in her native Australian accent. Then there's Mila, a woman who is just as lost as Astor and Cali when it comes to knowing what is truly best for themselves in the worlds of dating and romance. This journey of self-discovery and self-understanding is central to the film.

Despite the budget being small, this is truly a film worth watching. Enver Gjokaj plays arguably the funniest character of the film, Jake. If you didn't already know that Gjokaj has a knack for comedy, his performance will leave you wanting more of his comedic gold in future works. Additionally, Miracle Laurie brings warmth and brightens each scene in which she is present and the film's soundtrack seamlessly weaves the story together. Anton King has delivered a fresh take on the human experience. Indeed, Lust for Love breathes life into the increasingly tired and stale romantic comedy genre.

Lust for Love's general release will be on 7 Feb 2014.


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