Re-Watch: Love and Other Disasters (2006)

Love and Other Disasters
Director: Alek Keshishian
Writer: Alek Keshishian
Cast: Brittany Murphy, Matthew Rhys, Catherine Tate, Santiago Cabrera, Elliot Cowan, Stephanie Beacham, Jamie Sives, Will Keen, Michael Lerner, Dawn French, Gwyneth Paltrow, Orlando Bloom
Seen on: 20.5.2021
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Jacks (Brittany Murphy) works at Vogue, lives with her best friend Peter (Matthew Rhys) and is kinda dating James (Elliot Cowan) who she broke up with – but the break-up didn’t stick. Jacks is always rooting for her friends to find love, though, above all Peter – who just ran into the guy of his dreams but didn’t manage to talk to him. So maybe the photographer’s new assistant Paolo (Santiago Cabrera) may be a good match for Peter. Jacks certainly thinks he’s great.

It’s been a long time that I saw Love and Other Disasters, but I had a very fond memory of it – and fortunately, my memory isn’t wrong: this is a sweet and funny film that has a smart message.

The film poster showing Jacks (Brittany Murphy) sitting huddled together with crossed legs.

Love and Other Disasters takes a bit of a meta approach with Peter being a screen writer who works the events into a film by the end. The film knows how to strike the right balance there and doesn’t overdo it. Whenever it goes meta, though, it is at the perfect time, getting the most from that bit.

But that is just a small part of what makes the film. The film’s central strength, is Brittany Murphy. She is fantastic, a whirlwind of energy that could have easily become a shallow stereotype, but instead gives us the vulnerability to offset her breezy manner and to make Jacks much more real. Nobody else in the film has a chance: when she is here, it’s all eyes on Murphy. (Although Dawn French was hilarious – but she was lucky enough to never share the screen with Murphy.)

Jacks (Brittany Murphy) and Peter (Matthew Rhys) watching TV together.

It is obvious that the film has a point that it wants you (and the characters) to take away: that love is a choice, a choice to commit, to be vulnerable, to open yourself up. It’s a choice you have to make over and over again. Love doesn’t happen to you, you make love happen. It doesn’t mince words or just allude to this either – this is basically quoted verbatim from the film. I could understand if that didactic approach annoyed you, but for me, it worked – especially because I wholeheartedly agree with it.

But even without this message, the film would be simply entertaining – funny, well-paced and supersweet. It is nice to see that it stood the test of time and that I can still refer to it as a favorite.

Jacks (Brittany Murphy) and Peter (Matthew Rhys) talking on his bed.

Summarizing: so cute.

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