What Love Looks Like (2020)

What Love Looks Like
Director: Alex Magaña
Writer: Alex Magaña
Cast: Margo Graff, Josh Gilmer, Tevy Poe, Connor Wilkins, Kate Durocher, Nathan Kohnen, Taylor Alexa Frank, Trevor Sean, Ashley Rose McKenna, Jamie Shelnitz, Jack Menzies, Kyle Meck, Ana Ming Bostwick-Singer, Gabriella Wisdom, Kylee Wofford, Ian Nemser
Seen on: 1.2.2020
[Screener review.]

Plot:
Dating is hard and there are many different ways in which it can be hard. Summer (Jamie Shelnitz) and Calvin (Connor Wilkins) are trying their hands at online dating. Sam (Nathan Kohnen) has difficulties getting over Willow (Gabriella Wisdom) who left a big hole in his life. Nicole (Kate Durocher) would just like her boyfriend Owen’s (Josh Gilmer) attention for once. Theodore (Jack Menzies) thinks that Bailey (Ana Ming Bostwick-Singer) is the most beautiful girl ever, but that doesn’t mean he can just go and talk to her. And when Finn (Kyle Meck) finally gets up his courage to talk to Penelope (Taylor Alexa Frank), it’s only to discover that she is returning to London soon. Will all of them figure out ways to deal?

What Love Looks Like is a sweet film. Given its episodic nature, at least one of the stories is bound to resonate with you, most likely scratching any romantic itch you might have. I enjoyed it, though I didn’t completely love it.

The film poster showing five romantic constellations.

What Love Looks Like seems to aim at being rather comprehensive, diverse look at how people fall in (and out) of love. But as different as the stories are, they are all about young, abled, pretty, cis, hetero people, most of whom are white. It’s the default when we’re talking romantic pairings and when there’s only one major pairing, it’s easier to ignore. But here the episodic structure of the film makes its homogenous cast stand out much more, which is a pity.

Ignoring that context, though, I did enjoy the stories. There were bits and pieces here and there over which I stumbled – how the women so very readily and nicely react to the guys’ advances made it very obvious to me, for example, that this was written by a man (especially the “let me just get in your car, random dude who says he is a driver” bit) – but nothing so major that it pulled me out of the film.

A young woman with a frustrated facial expression.

The cast was mostly pretty decent, with Jamie Shelnitz and Ashley Rose McKenna stealing my heart in particular, while Taylor Alexa Frank’s British accent didn’t quite work the way it was supposed to. Personally, my favorite bit of the stories was Theodore’s awkwardness and Bailey’s endless patience and sweetness with him (although, to be fair, I also thought that a look at the situation through her eyes instead of Theodore’s wouldn’t have hurt. Not that it would have necessarily changed how things worked out).

Magaña does a nice job with balancing the many characters and their stories, only shortchanging Finn and Penelope a little, as well as the low budget of the production, creating a touching, fun film that may not join the ranks of the great romantic classics, but will leave you smiling.

A young man in a park looking awkward.

Summarizing: cute.

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