Last Love

August 10, 2014

 

The opening of Last Love portrays two deaths. One of a wife, and another of a man who does not know how to live without her. The sorrow that fills his heart to replace the joy that she provided pulls the audience directly into his grasp. We are uncertain that we are marionettes being exploited like an emotional vampire who has found a new neck to bite. Which is to say, the protagonist offers us watery eyes and we deliver pity, and it is only through his entanglement with a semi-mysterious young woman to we see his inner nature.

 

No, he isn’t an evil person by trade. Even as a retired philosophy professor, a favorite stock academic for filmmakers, he does not conspire to violate any laws. What he seeks is what was taken away from him by God, which is love. And it is a particular sort of love, from a particular woman we know nothing about. But she was so powerful to the makeup of his life, that when she no longer is an active ingredient he finds no reason to continue to powder his nose.

 

The young woman is no replacement. But she is a soothing oil to the skin of his naked soul. In a mundane “how people meet people” scenario, they find each other on a bus ride as she is on her way to work, and he is on his way towards continuing to die without his wife. What sparks his curiosity with her? Was it a simple act of warmth, of consideration toward him on the bus that no other stranger provided? To some degree yes. To some degree, he found a form of his wife in her.

 

And yet is this healthy? We witness him telling his son, who he confides he never really wanted as it was only out of duty to his wife to raise a family, that he will be killed if he harms this living wife-memory. It never reaches a pathologically obsessive level with her, only that it is striking how lame his life is in isolation. “I don’t know why she picked me,” he grovels to his son. He was unworthy of her gift of life and now that she left he feels resentment? The fact is the man never learned how to live. It seems as though the film depicts him like an orphaned puppy in human form.

 

The ins and outs of Parisian life coupled with the personal problems the supporting cast has merely masks a man who is now exposed to a world where there is no one that validates your existence. And this makes him suicidal. The question is then: even with his wife, did he have a life worth living?

 

Grade: B-

 

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