Love and Monsters (2020)

Love and Monsters
Director: Michael Matthews
Writer: Brian Duffield, Matthew Robinson
Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick, Michael Rooker, Dan Ewing, Ariana Greenblatt, Ellen Hollman, Tre Hale, Pacharo Mzembe, Senie Priti, Amali Golden, Te Kohe Tuhaka
Seen on: 25.4.2021

Plot:
7 years ago, the world basically ended. There was a meteorite heading towards earth. To stop it, humanity blew it up, but the chemicals that got blown back to earth changed things forever, creating monsters and forcing people underground. Joel (Dylan O’Brien) is one of those people, living in a community in a bunker. Joel is not a fighter, so he hasn’t actually left the bunker, but through a radio, he has found Aimee (Jessica Henwick), the girl he dated when everything went down. Her colony is only a week or so away, but a week among monsters is a very long way. But after the radio dies, Joel decides that he has had it – he will make the trek and find Aimee. Easier said than done, though.

Love and Monsters is cute enough. Not great and probably not a film that will become a favorite of mine, but I enjoyed it while it lasted for sure.

The film poster showing the main characters, including a dog, in various sizes in front of a desolate landscape.

The story of Love and Monsters will probably surprise nobody much, and it wouldn’t have hurt if it hadn’t been all about a dude chasing a girl, but given that that’s the story they tell, they handled it nicely. I was positively surprised by how seriously the film takes Joel’s PTSD, though – even if their solution is “simply face your fears and everything will be fine” which is a tad oversimplifying things.

O’Brien is his charming self and with the script that lets Joel be both emotional, but also take in a position of ironic distance to himself, you get one hell of a likeable protagonist in Joel. But I also seriously liked Aimee (and Henwick’s performance), even though she gets much less attention and development. And to round things off, there is a dog!

Joel (Dylan O'Brien) in the forsest, holding a crossbow.

The CGI is pretty good, though they make the smart choice not to spend too much time on the monsters, but focusing on the characters instead. Probably my favorite thing about the film, though, is nothing to do with one single character, but rather that the vast majority of people in the film actually take care of each other. That was a very welcome change to the usual narrative of people instantly turning into raging killers filled with blood lust the instant things get dystopic.

So, if you’re looking for something nice to watch that cracks some decent jokes and is entertaining, you could do a lot worse than Love and Monsters, even if it doesn’t have the power to really burrow into your heart and stay there.

Joel (Dylan O'Brien) sitting on a desolate sofa next to a robot, looking despondent.

Summarizing: sweet.

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