Love Etc. is a documentary that follows New Yorkers of varied ages and backgrounds around for a year to explore the different stages of love. The focal subjects range from a long married senior couple to two high school students, and their engaging stories are intercut throughout the film. The assortment of the people observed has the potential to attract an audience larger than that drawn by other documentaries. Marketed well, it's exhibitors who may love this romance doc most!
Albert, 79, and Marion, 89, have been married 48 years and still delight in each other's company. They met when each was looking for a songwriting partner. Albert is still trying to plug their songs as they hope for a "hit." Herb tells such interesting anecdotes that their story could be the subject of a documentary all by itself. The length of their bond gives their scenes a depth lacking in the younger relationships depicted.
Chitra, 28, and Mahendra, 29, are an engaged couple living together. Their families are planning a traditional Indian wedding for them. Chitra is a paralegal while her future groom has passed the bar but continues searching for work.
Ethan, 40, is a divorced father with custody of his teenage son and daughter. He's a construction worker who has a close rapport with his kids. He tells them that taking care of them is more important than taking the time to meet a new partner.
Scott, 52, is a gay director of theater and television. Currently unattached, he's anxious to be a father and decides to become a single parent through a surrogate. He prepares for parenthood as he would a theatrical production.
Both 18, Gabriel and Danielle are students in their first serious relationship. Gabriel is originally from Brazil and college looms in both their futures.
Complications develop during the time observed: Albert reveals Marion's dementia, Scott finds out that his surrogate will bear twins and wonders how fatherhood will complicate any future relationship and Ethan's son arranges a date for his father with Erika, a friend's mother. Though they are of different backgrounds, Ethan is attracted to Erika and spends more and more time with her. Chitra and Mahendra's Indian wedding ceremony adds exotic color to the film. Afterward both remain opinionated. Some of the sections are more eventful than others, and parts of the film are somewhat predictable. (Gabriel and Daniele may be going to different schools after graduation.) Yet, speaking directly to the camera, the subjects reveal their thoughts and insecurities about their relationships and in the process become even more likable personalities. Meanwhile, Love, Etc. could have made a greater effort to penetrate the surface stories. (References are made to Ethan's drinking, but no effects are shown or discussed.)
Executive producer Jonathan Tisch was inspired to make Love Etc. when he and his fiancée went to the City Hall Wedding Bureau for a marriage license and he noticed the diverse groups waiting alongside him. This is the feature directorial debut of Jill Andresevic who has produced campaigns for Nike and Cadillac. Andresevic includes photogenic clips of the vibrant and diverse areas of New York City, giving a strong sense of the settings of the different love stories spread around the city.
Director: Jill Andresevic
Producers: Jill Andresevic, Jeffrey Stewart, Chiemi Karasawa
Running Time: 95 min.
Release Date: July 1 NY, July 15 LA