mon 22/04/2019

Stuck in Love | reviews, news & interviews

Stuck in Love

Stuck in Love

Beautifully acted film charts a broken family on the - guess what? - mend

Second time lucky? Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly ponder starting anew in `Stuck in Love'

People genuinely care about words in Josh Boone's directing debut, Stuck in Love, and that's as might be expected from a film that went by the name of Writers when it premiered in Toronto last autumn. So the first thing to be said is that this likable American indie is nicely written (a rarity in itself these days), notwithstanding an ending that trades heavily on the inevitable uplift that is the Hollywood norm even in such low-budget climes.

And it's even better acted across the generations by an attractive cast, all of whom fully inhabit the cautious, often anxiety-laden byways of love and desire trafficked by a script apparently rooted in Boone's experience of his parents' own divorce. The climactic shout-out to Raymond Carver may not be entirely earned, and (spoiler ahead!) Stephen King's participation is pretty much a red herring in every way beyond self-evident name value - and a neat eleventh-hour surprise. But Stuck in Love both invites our engagement and earns it, as well: these are people you genuinely hope will find a way to mend, not least for the simple reason that they do actually seem as if they might be happier in one another's company.

Greg Kinnear and Kristen BellWhen first encountered, the bespectacled Bill Borgens (Greg Kinnear) is nursing the broken heart caused by the exit several years before of onetime spouse, Erica (Jennifer Connelly, more impossibly beautiful than ever). A well-regarded if momentarily blocked novelist who likes to discourse on the power of words ("a writer is the sum of their experiences," he tells his teenage son, "[so] go get some"), Bill has passed on to his two children both an appreciation of language and an awareness of the bruises caused by love. Small wonder, with regard to the latter, that daughter Samantha (Lily Collins) - herself a fast-rising author - has erected an elaborate carapace to shield her from all manner of feeling. And though one knows those defenses will be eroded over time, Boone charts the character's gradual surrender with empathy and skill, her pathway eased by the presence of a sweet boyfriend at the ready in Logan Lerman's endlessly patient Lou.

At the same time, younger son Rusty (Nat Wolff) is pondering his own relationship both with the family vocation - words - and also a difficult first love in the damaged Kate (Liana Liberato, whose slightly closed-off affect is perfect for the part). Throw in a local fitness-obsessed neighbour (Kristen Bell, pictured above with Kinnear) who is happy to provide Bill with regular sex but has made clear that such trysts come unaccompanied by anything more substantial and you've got enough fraught connections to fuel many a story, whatever the medium. Like, as here, a gently enquiring and touching film. 

  • Stuck in Love in released in cinemas on Friday 14 June

Watch the trailer for Stuck in Love

 

These are people you genuinely hope will find a way to mend, not least for the simple reason that they might actually be happier in one another's company

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Comments

Great review but the writer directors name is Josh Boone not John Boone.

Thanks Anon, now rectified.

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters