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Love (2011)

After losing contact with Earth, astronaut Lee Miller becomes stranded in orbit alone aboard the International Space Station. As time passes and life support systems dwindle, Lee battles to maintain his sanity – and simply stay alive. His world is a claustrophobic and lonely existence, until he makes a strange discovery aboard the ship.

Love is a 2011 science fiction film produced and scored by the rock band Angels & Airwaves. The film is the directorial debut of filmmaker William Eubank and stars Gunner Wright as the astronaut Lee Miller. It took over 4 years to complete and the actual space station was built in the directors parents back yard to cut down on costs. Please don’t let the low-budget approach put you off, Love is visually incredible to look at as I hope some of the pictures throughout this review show.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a huge Angels & Airwaves fan. If you have never heard of them (most of you probably) they are led by frontman Tom Delonge (Blink 182) and he was really the driving force behind getting this movie made. They released two albums Love & Love: Part 2 to coincide with the movie release and the songs appear throughout the film. The band financed the whole movie and Delonge was with the director at the festivals whist promoting it. This is not just a rock star using his money to get any old piece of crap movie made – Love is clearly a passion project for Delonge and he went to great lengths to make a serious movie.

To use the directors quote in his summary for the film:

Love portrays the personal-psychological effects of isolation and loneliness when an astronaut becomes stranded in space and through this, emphasizes the importance of human connection and love. Additionally, it touches on the fragility of humankind’s existence (explored through a dying Earth-apocalyptic doomsday scenario) inspired by the cautions of Carl Sagan in Pale Blue Dot and considers the importance of memories and stories as humanity’s legacy.

Some pretty heavy stuff I’m sure you will agree. My science fiction film knowledge is average at best, and whilst many critics stated that Love was reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Moon, and Solaris to name just a few, I’m ashamed to admit I have never seen any of them. If Angels & Airwaves didn’t create this film, chances are I would never have seen it. Now all I want to do is go and see these other sci-fi classics as I really feel I have missed out. Love has honestly opened my eyes to the genre and I’m sure I will be very grateful.

Love starts during an 1864 battle of the American Civil War. We are introduced to a lone Union soldier, Captain Lee Briggs (Bradley Horne), who is dispatched on a mission to investigate a mysterious object which has been reported to Union forces. We then cut to 175 years later, in the year 2039, and we meet United States astronaut Lee Miller (Gunner Wright) who has been sent to the International Space Station (or the ISS) as a one-man skeleton crew. His mission is to examine whether or not it is safe for use and to perform the necessary modifications after it had been abandoned two decades earlier. His cause is not helped by the manual being in russian (we’ve all been there!). Shortly after arriving on-board, something happens on Earth, which eventually results in Miller losing all human contact back home. Miller struggles to maintain his sanity while in isolation by interacting with Polaroid pictures of former ISS crew members left aboard the ship. When the station has some power glitches, Miller journeys into a different module of the space station to perform repairs and discovers the 1864 journal of Briggs (the Union soldier). Miller reads Brigg’s account of the war and becomes enthralled by the mysterious object he is searching for, not realizing he will soon become more familiar with the very same object, and not by accident. The astronaut begins to feel the connection to the civil war soldier, and this is where the objective of the whole narrative as a circular storytelling mechanism comes into full view.

Every now and then we get videos of people back home, just seemingly random people talking about life in general, and love being a constant theme. There are also snippets of clues and information littered throughout. War is a constant theme, an Ark (Noah’s, or Aliens?) is mentioned as the object that links the stories, and all the way through the film I was trying to work out what was real and what wasn’t. The ending was very open for interpretation and offers more clues and theories than answers, and whilst some times that frustrates me, in this case it just worked. Even with my limited knowledge of sci-fi, I know that existential science fiction is meant to be mostly questions. That being said I still went back and watched it again to try and catch bits I missed or look for more solutions. There aren’t many films I can watch back to back.

Visually as I mentioned earlier, Love is aesthetically beautiful. The war scenes look very realistic, the space station looks great and you couldn’t tell it was made for next to nothing. The highlights for me were awe-inspiring views of the mountains and the final slow-mo shot of Earth. It genuinely gave me goosebumps at times, looking at something so spectacular and the music was perfectly done. The director has truly made an epic film.

Love won a whole host of awards throughout the festival circuit, for best director and best soundtrack so I’m hoping some of these facts help appease those who think I’m being too biased!

After the film finished (2nd time round!) I went to research Carl Sagan and The Pale Blue Dot. I know I’m massively running the risk of boring people (if anyone has read this far) but I just briefly wanted to add the photo and explanation that served as an inspiration for the film. I found it fascinating and I hope some one else as uneducated as me on these aspects will too.

Seen from about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles), Earth appears as a tiny dot (the blueish-white speck approximately halfway down the brown band to the right) within the darkness of deep space.

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. – Carl Sagan

Please see Love if you ever get the chance. It truly is a work of art and a brilliant piece of cinema. I’m not claiming it is perfect (hence my final score) but films like this that are made on a budget with unique stories are criminally overlooked in favour of remakes and sequels. This is my way of attempting to make a minuscule contribution to change that if even one person goes out of their way to see this. It came out in some parts of Europe in April, and will be on Blu Ray/DVD later this year. It also came free with the album but I’m guessing I might have been one of the only ones who bought that! Thanks for reading, and I’ll try keep my next review a little shorter.

Ratings09

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56 Comments

  1. theipc

     /  July 5, 2012

    this sounds really interesting – has it been distributed? I’ve never heard of it.

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    • It came as a bundle with their album, and was released in select cinemas for a short time. Now its making its way out on blu ray/dvd. Think Europe is this summer with United States August time I heard. Well worth it if you can find it. Glad someone made it through my review!

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  2. I’ve never heard of it either but I love the A&A album released with it, the opening to Saturday Love is probably my favorite track

    Anyways I definitely want to check it out now 🙂

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  3. This sounds amazingly beautiful and haunting and also like it will totally freak me out because space freaks me out (and the idea of that dot being us and the infinity of time and space and being alone in the universe and so on and so forth)…

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    • It is most certainly beautiful to look at. Seeing us as that dot really puts our existence into perspective. You really think we are alone? I can’t believe we are 🙂

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      • Lol, I meant more alone in the universe as individuals. Like, our lives and dramas and stories mean so much less than we sometimes think when we put it all into perspective. 🙂

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        • Haha, oops, crossed wires! Yeah that’s why I put his summary in there really, it summed things up way better (obviously) than I could and its all I can think about since I’ve seen the picture. Buying his book tomorrow 🙂

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  4. This sounds exciting. Just added it to my Netflix queue.

    If it weren’t for that arrow that points to the “blue dot,” I never would’ve seen it. Hahaha. Thanks!

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    • Excellent, I really hope you enjoy it. My work is done if you watch and like it! Let me know what you think if you do. I can’t take credit for the arrow, it definitely helps though! I want to try and buy that photo, can’t stop thinking about it 🙂 Thanks for the comment

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  5. I can tell from just skimming this blog that you review a lot of movies I’ve never heard about and have never seen. I think that’s great, and will definitely be keeping an eye out for potential recommendations. You write wonderfully, and I’m definitely intrigued about this movie based in your review, and will be adding it to my watch list. 🙂 Keep up the great work!

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    • Hey, glad you made it over here! Yeah my aim primarily is to try and review films people may not have heard about. I watch a lot of world cinema and every now and again throughout all the crap I watch I see some that are worth recommending. Obviously I want to try and incorporate more popular films too, but so many other bloggers review the new current releases and mainstream stuff (better than I could!) so I thought I would try and be a little different. Although I’m now challenging myself to review the IMDB Top 250, but that’s more because I think it would be a cool collection of reviews for my site to showcase for anyone that may stop by. I hope you do get to see ‘Love’ and I can’t wait to hear what you think about it. Thanks also for the compliments, always nice to get an ego boost 🙂

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      • Hahaha yeah, well to stroke your ego a little more, I’m pretty selective about responding to entries, haha. I want to make sure I can actually contribute a thought of use, otherwise I just don’t bother.

        I intend to review films that I’ve watched before that aren’t necessarily recent, but blogging actually takes a lot of my energy so I haven’t really gotten past reviewing just the recent stuff; hopefully soon though.

        I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on your blog though. 🙂

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        • Yeah, I try to reply to as many people as I can on their site, but I actually want to know what I’m talking about so try and pick a movie/reference etc that I actually can talk about. I feel there are plenty of people reviewing the recent blockbusters so I try and find more obscure stuff that might show off something that people may not of necessarily watched before. All good fun but you’re right it does take time!! Thanks again for your comments, I look forward to reading more on your site too 🙂

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        • Thanks! Sometimes I’ll admit I’m just not motivated, lol. I mean I’m sure I could always post something daily, but I don’t want to post up any junk.

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        • That’s why I set myself the Top 250 IMDB project (in menu above if your interested!) to go alongside my horror reviews. Just to try keep my creative energy flowing, otherwise I’ll get lazy and not post anything! 🙂

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        • Hahaha. I think even if I tried to something like that it wouldn’t necessarily work out…I think it’s because I’m working so much right now, so the first thing on my mind when I get home is…BED!! Not BLOG!! Hahahaha.

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        • That’s why I have asked for helpers/guest reviewers 🙂 I always watched films in my spare time as an escape, so now I do that and then write about them so I’m determined to try and find time. As you say, it’s not easy

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        • Haha yeah. I actually like to write about a variety of topics on my blog, since so many people do the film thing, and I mostly started my blog just to share my interests in general rather than having just one focus. That approach has its pros and cons, but I just wanted to leave things open for myself. It just so happens that movies are kind of dominating the blog right now, lol.

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        • Yeah its tricky to try and stand out from the crowd, as you say your not ‘pigeon-holing’ yourself into one genre and you can write about whatever you want. I went down the horror route to try be a little different. At the end of the day, I figure if I try and write well (that’s up for debate!) and be friendly/interact then people may come back and Ill meet more cool people such as yourself. After all, its nice to have conversations with people who share the same interest.

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        • Yup for sure! And LOL. You like the one genre I steer waaaay clear from. The bloggers who run 3Guys1Movie.com love to tease me about it.

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        • Stick to the IMDB posts then, you may find more you like with those films 🙂 Pretty sure Toy Story will be up for review soon……..

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        • Hahaha, I’ll be looking forward to it.

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  6. Thanks for talking about this. I’d never heard of it before, but I love movies like this. You really do need to see all those sci-fi movies you mentioned.

    I’d say you didn’t need to include what other people have said about the movie. You had your disclaimer about the band, and your opinion is still valid. I wouldn’t worry about seeming illegitimate. This was good stuff. I’m also glad it led you to research some Carl Sagan.

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    • Thanks George/Sir Phobos! I am already on the case trying to watch the others, dvds are ordered! I definitely feel as though I’m missing out. As for the inclusion of the critics words, I was really on the fence with including them, as I was worried of coming across as a fan-boy and wanted my thoughts to be taken more seriously I guess. I have now amended it as I was hoping someone would sway my thoughts one way or the other!

      Carl Sagan book as also been ordered, fascinating stuff and always nice to learn something new. Thanks for your comments, hope you get chance to catch the film and I’d love to know your thoughts.

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  7. I have not heard of this film sounds interesting. Have you seen Moon? Sounds similar, without the war parts.

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    • No, Moon is one I will be seeking out though as I have heard lots of good things about it. Hope you get to see this one day, may appear on Netflix after it gets a DVD release later in the year! Cheers for stopping by Sean

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  8. kidmiracleshitter

     /  July 11, 2012

    Great review you have here. I posted the trailer to my blog some time ago, but haven’t gotten around to a follow up post about it. Have you seen a recent movie called Earthling?

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    • Thanks buddy. If you do ever catch Love, please let me know what you think. Would be great to hear other opinions on it! Not heard of Earthling, will try remember to look it up later. In case I forget, is it similar in style to Love? Cheers for stopping by.

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      • kidmiracleshitter

         /  July 12, 2012

        I would say it is similar in style, and structure, although it’s scope probably isn’t as vast as Love.

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        • Ok cool, Ill have to add it to my ‘try to find & watch’ pile which is growing daily as people give me great recommendations!

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  9. this is a great review, kudos

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  10. You have made this sound fascinating. I adored Moon, I also loved Robinson Crusoe on Mars (anciently old Sci/Fi that I still love) so I think I’ll be putting this on my list. Great review and no I don’t mind you linking at all. Cheers mate. 🙂

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    • Thanks buddy, and you didn’t go to spam 🙂

      I’m going to re-do this, and tag it freshly pressed! I think this is the best thing Ill ever write (obviously everyone else will be the judge of that!).

      Cheers Mike, and hope you get chance to see this!

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  11. Hey great review, man. Nice touch there tying it in with Carl Sagan’s pale blue dot quote. I saw Love in the cinema this week and really enjoyed it. Being a sci-fi fan since I was a kid, I am very familiar with the other films you referenced and highly recommend them. I’m not a huge fan of the Solaris remake, but the Tarkovsky original is well worth checking out. As far as tone is concerned, Love reminded me very much of Moon and also Silent Running – another fave of mine. Cheers!

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  12. I’ve definitely read this before bug I don’t see any comment from me on here. I was sure I did last year. Anyway, I’m back again having now seen it and you know my thoughts. You have put up a very fine defence here, though, I have to admit it. Alas, I do not agree. 😉

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    • I deleted all trace of you 😉

      Hey, its all good healthy discussion, and I know if there is one man I can disagree strongly with but keep it all friendly its you. Its a shame you didnt like it, but I appreciate you still checking it out anyway. Cheers Mark 😛

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      • I know buddy. It’s all in good jest, as always. 😉
        Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me but I can see why some could really get into it. Visually it was magnificent and highly impressive how they managed it while shooting it in the back yard. I have to admit that.

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  13. Great review, man! I enjoyed the movie despite going in with fairly low expectations. It’s really hard for me to wrap my head around the visuals when I compare them to the supposed budget. Half a million dollars and the movie is beautiful.

    You’re right that these kinda movies get overlooked way too much. The ig shame with that is filmmakers responsible for these hidden gems could be rock stars of cinema with the right backing. So it’s definitely important to give them their due.

    Throughout Love I was prepared to go negative. At the least, I was expecting watching it to be a chore. I guess I was really biased going into it (and unfairly so). My only real complaints were that the movie borrowed just a little too much from 2001 (one of my favorite movies, I highly recommend it) and that the passage of time wasn’t that clear.

    Despite my expectations, I thought Love was really thought provoking. And the isolation came through really clearly. I liked it.

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    • Thanks buddy. Yeah I left you a comment, nice to see someone else covering it.

      As I mentioned here, I still havent seen 2001, but I own it and will one day get it seen 🙂

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      • I look forward to your thoughts on 2001. I had the pleasure of seeing it on the big screen earlier this year at a screening. It’s one of the most visually breathtaking movies I’ve ever seen.

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        • Wow, thats cool. My local arthouse cinema shows old classics, always when Im working sadly. One day Id love to see a film like this on the big screen.

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  14. Wow have to check this one out. ..

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  15. Shane Clarke

     /  March 19, 2015

    Hi, thanks for your review. I have just watched the film, and though I didn’t dislike it…I have to say, the films you compared it to (or rather, you read it compared to) are far far superior. I suggest if you enjoyed Love so much, go watch 2001. It has a similar pacing and minimal style but it is just much more rewarding, and in terms of awe…it dwarfs this movie. In saying this, I did enjoy reading your review!

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    • I’m massively late to this, my apologies. Thanks for the comment, I have 2001 ready on blu ray and definitely looking forward to it. Thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed it 🙂

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