Modern Love – Season 1

Rating:

“Surely there is someone out there who will take me for who I am.”

Main Cast: Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey

Writer/Director: John Carney

What an interesting series. Modern Love is an anthology series original from Amazon Prime Video based on the New York Times column of the same name.  Each short episode (25-35 minutes) is based on an essay about love in one of its unlimited permutations. There are big names both in front of and behind the camera and the results range from heartbreaking to endearing, and always in some way insightful.

Modern Love – Season 1 consists of eight episodes, each looking at love from a different perspective. There is Anne Hathaway as a woman with bipolar disorder reaching out to the dating world, Tina Fey and John Slattery as a long married couple trying to find common ground as their kids leave for college, Dev Patel and Catherine Keener sharing stories of missed chances, and Julia Garner as a young woman in desperate need of something she can’t define. Other episodes feature actors you won’t so immediately recognize, but their stories are just as poignant and true.

I’m not going to detail Modern Love episode by episode – it’s worth finding out the details on your own. Principle writer/director John Carney manages to take these very personal essays off the page and turn them into small works of art, each exploring some facet of the challenges of loving another person in our complicated world. No story is perfectly smooth, since that isn’t how real life works. No character is all bad or all good, either, since that also isn’t how life works. Each manages to give us a perfect little slice of life to consider as we fumble along on our own paths. It’s a lovely series, beautifully filmed in New York City, with a clear affection for its characters and its source material. I suspect the audience who will appreciate Modern Love the most are those of us with a little life under our belts. It may feel trite or boring or unrealistic to a young audience who won’t see much of themselves in this variety of characters. But take that for what it is – the opinion of someone who has been married with children for a long time and probably has no idea what young people think about anything (or so I suspect). I’ve never read the NYT column but would love to know what those whose essays were chosen for this series think of the adaptations.  I found every one delightful in its own way. Highly recommended.

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