“Modern Love” is back, but it’s not clear why. It was and is a series of wasted opportunities in which cool concepts get lost under the mountain of clichés, and great actors simply go to waste.
Series anthologies are a modern form of torture. The viewer is tempted by ideas that look wonderful on paper, announcements of Oscar-winning performances and the promise contained in the quickly assembled trailers that they will not be bored. And then every episode is disappointment. This is what happens recently with “Black Mirror”, not to mention all its fakes, it was the same with the unpacked stars of “Solos”, it is also the case with “Modern Love”, which in season 2 resembles student etudes even more dangerously than in the first season.
Modern Love season 2, or Kit Harington sweet
Just as season 1 was promoted with an episode with Anne Hathaway as the bipolar heroine, now the promotional materials featured mainly Lucy Boynton and Kit Harington aka strangers from the train to Dublin from episode 3. The series is wrong: even the most cute idea won’t work on the screen when you choose the wrong performers, opting for pretty faces and famous names, instead of the good old chemistry test at casting.
“Strangers on a (Dublin) Train” is a modern variation on the theme of “Before Sunrise” – the couple meet on the train and immediately catch our eye, or so they try to convince us of. Further acquaintance is hindered by the fact that they do not exchange phones, and the COVID lockdown begins in the country. Apart from the inauthenticity of this meeting (on March 13, 2020 the cities were already empty, as were the shelves with toilet paper in shops, and on the trains we separated ourselves from people as much as we could – and no one thought it would be normal in two weeks), their conversation is not cute . It’s forced, it’s artificial, and it’s hard to see the potential for romance there. And yet the episode drags and drags, and the heroes untangle endlessly with the help of their loved ones, whether to meet or not.
The upside is the meta-level of this episode, the awareness of both of them that they are in the story “like from a movie” (sarcastic Boynton, ah!) And their everyday lockdown at home – her mother and his brother bring so much life into the whole that you would like it to be they were the main characters. The fact that the amount of icing is minimized in the end also works to your advantage. Nevertheless – for the episode, which was supposed to be the showcase of this season, it is a huge disappointment. A mediocre story that wants to be neither a proper romantic comedy, nor a mockery of this genre.
Modern Love season 2 – which episodes to watch?
What then to watch if not a nightmare with Boynton and Harington? Definitely bittersweet 1st episode, where Minnie Driver drives a blue car without a roof over the Irish serpentines and reminisces about the love of her life, and episode 8, where Tobias Menzies and Sophie Okonedo play a divorced couple getting back together at a rather specific moment. This duo is probably the only pair in the entire 2nd series that falls out reliably and naturally from start to finish. Both episodes are economical, intimate and uncomplicated, which is a plus in this series. Both are full of real emotions, but, unfortunately, both of them can be very sentimental and try to squeeze tears from the viewer.
And in the middle, we have a full overview of the ups and downs typical of serial anthologies. Episode 2, “The Night Girl Finds a Day Boy”, is based on a very clever concept – Zoë Chao plays a girl who only functions at night, which doesn’t make her life or dating easier – but in the end it only trivializes him. In the fourth episode we have a nice performance by Dominique Fishback from “Chronicles of Times Square” (the creator of “Modern Love”, John Carney, probably likes actors from David Simon’s production, because this season also Gbenga Akinnagbe appears, and the previous one was Gary Carr u side by Anne Hathaway), but you don’t really know what her guy is for. I would rather watch her energetic stand-up performances in the style of Mrs. Maisel.
Episodes 5 and 7 are queer stories, reduced to a terrible banality – one youth, the other adult, one with a trap in the form of buzzfeed quizzes (“How gay are you?”, These climates) in the lead role, the other distinguished by telling a story one night in the style of “Rashomon” or maybe “The Affair” and he asks if one of the gentlemen remembers the other. Neither the question nor the answer are too revealing. Over the 6th episode, with Anna Paquin entangled in a boring love triangle, it’s better to lower the veil of silence. Despite playing with form, it falls out of memory a moment after watching it.
Modern Love – why doesn’t it work when it should?
Based on love stories from New York Times columns, the series suffered and still suffers from the same problem: it is not able to turn very original concepts into good mini-films – because that’s probably the way to call these 30-minute stories. Far too often we deal with the same pattern: two famous actors who are excellent elsewhere, but between whom in “Modern Love” do not spark a bit, try desperately to turn into a living image something that will be a living image for nothing in the world. does not want.
As a result, “Modern Love” seems to be overcomplicated and devoid of emotions in exactly those places where emotions should be based. If Amazon wants to order another season, which I doubt John Carney should take a step back and take a look at his creation from a distance. I get the impression that how proud he is of the brilliant concepts on which the following episodes are based, obscures him with the truth about how much they fail in practice and do not cause a stir.
The best movie love stories are those where the attraction between screen couples is so irresistible that we are unable to take our eyes off them. They may be based on a remarkable idea and a great script – like Kit Harington’s made up for Before Sunrise – but without perfectly selected performers it is not enough. The “Modern Love” crew should spend more time on castings, instead of taking well-known names and putting them together. Because the effect is that the following episodes are quite nice to watch and forget immediately. And the show itself doesn’t seem to know any more about (modern) love than Jon Snow.
Season 2 of Modern Love is available on Prime Video