Starring: Josh Gilmer, Tay McVeigh, Margo Graff
Director: Alex Magaña
Running Time: 88 mins
What Love Looks Like is an American film about the five interweaving love stories, and the ups and downs of romance in all its different guises.
Not only impressing with likable characters, good humour and down-to-earth emotion, What Love Looks Like is a heartfelt and wonderfully honest romantic film that never shies away from a passionate ode to love, no matter how cheesy it may seem.
Interweaving romances is such a common trope on the big screen, from the likes of Love Actually to The Holiday, Stuck In Love and countless A-lister mash-ups like New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day.
And all of those films tell ham-fisted and cheesy stories that supposedly look at love in all forms, but in truth do little more than recapture boring and predictable clichés that we’ve seen a thousand times.
What Love Looks Like, however, somehow manages to take a painfully tired formula and not only breathe new life into it, but also really impress with heartfelt and genuine emotional depth.
Following five different stories of love and romance, the film sets itself up to be just another cheesy romantic drama, but I can’t stress just how surprised I was by how good What Love Looks Like turned out to be.
At first, telling five stories simultaneously seems to spread the film a little too thin, as it looks at different forms of love in individual and separate spheres.
In that, the film in its early stages feels a little bit like Crash, looking separately at different stories that in effect are little more than caricatures of themselves, from the tale of young love blossoming to a frustrated relationship and more.
But where the film really makes things work is in its excellent screenplay, which features interesting, multi-dimensional characters that show a lot more than just one side of love at a time.
From relatable romantic tropes to the odd enjoyable cliché, What Love Looks Like actually gets down to the bottom of what love is far better than any film before it, delivering captivating and pleasantly heartfelt emotional drama all the way through that overcomes any sense of cheesiness without an issue.
Director Alex Magaña does a fantastic job of handling what is always a complex structure to get right, giving each of the film’s many characters due focus and attention throughout, while pacing the movie to such an extent that it never even feels like your average romantic anthology, but really feels like it weaves together perfectly.
And even if all the characters don’t meet, the thematic similarities and mirroring between each of the stories help link it all together brilliantly, ingeniously making the film feel whole without resorting to a cheesy finale that ties it all up in an easy bow for you to enjoy.
As a result, What Love Looks Like is an excellent romantic film that improves on a terrible Hollywood trope by providing likable characters, fun humour and genuinely fantastic drama and depth. It’s captivating, heartfelt and wonderfully honest, playing on genre clichés while actually getting to the bottom of its main theme. And that’s why I’m giving it a 7.7 overall.