A couple going through the early stages of divorce, but still living together in the same accommodation in Moscow, must team up together and put their hatred for each other aside, when their only son disappears suddenly after overhearing and witnessing their deteriorating relationship over time. Are the pair too late to find him or is this much more than just a case of a runaway child? This Russian drama may not be the most exciting release of 2017 but it’s worth of a watch.
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Writers: Oleg Negin, Andrey Zvyagintsev
Starring: Maryana Spivak, Aleksey Rozin, Matvey Novikov
Having recently seen Sputnik (2020), a foreign based Sci-Fi flick, I decided to delve deeper into Russian cinema by watching Loveless – an exceptionally striking and emotional drama that explores the subject of feuding parents and the helpless, lonely children stuck in the middle. One of, if not the main strength, had to be the way in which the filmmakers put together the passionate story that this child was going through and the fact that it’s one that every parent could relate to.
Something else that the filmmakers managed to perfectly capture was the portrayal of what a truly toxic relationship looked like, along with successfully making the lead characters seem as superficial and unlikeable as humanly possible. With that being said, one thing I’d have to flag up, would be whether the film warranted an almost one-hundred and twenty-five-minute runtime, as at times the film seemed very slow in nature and the dialogue was minimal at best. For me, I feel Loveless could have been slightly more suited to a runtime around the ninety-minute ball park.
In terms of the acting, the two lead characters put in typically Russian performances, both stern and emotionless, portraying the warring parents. Maryana Spivak adopted the role of Zhenya and Aleksey Rozin portrayed Boris, while the missing child of the story, Alyosha, was depicted by Matvey Novikov. Elsewhere, and to my surprise, Aleksey Fateev popped up and starred in this – the Russian actor also appeared recently in Proxima (2019) which was reviewed recently on the site.
One final aspect of the flick worth noting would have to be the political elements of Loveless that some have highlighted, but as somebody that tries to stay as far away from the subject of politics as physically possible, it wasn’t something that leaped out to me on the first viewing. With that being said, Russia’s war with Ukraine was heavily mentioned in the closing stages of the picture and it’s also worth noting that the Russian police weren’t exactly painted as saints throughout this one either, seemingly not taking the case of the missing child seriously at all.
Overall, if you’re a fan of hard-hitting dramas then Loveless is definitely one you should give a shot. If, however, you’re hoping for a more exciting and action-packed film then I’d more than likely suggest you give this one a miss.
“I think I’ve made a terrible mistake.”Zhenya – Loveless