A couple going through a divorce must team up to find their son who has disappeared during one of their bitter arguments.
Fuck me. This movie was so enthralling, so bleak and so genuinely moving that it’s taken me until now to properly unpack it. I went on a whim late one evening and sat between two old ladies, one of whom spent most of the show with her head on my shoulder. (So she could read the subtitles she claimed but I’m not convinced – I do give great shoulder).
Alexey (Novikov) is caught between two warring parents and things are far from great. Virtually invisible, he gets to listen to Zhenya and Boris (Spivak and Rozin) argue about who gets to take him when they finally sell their apartment and split for good. That is, Zhenya doesn’t want custody and neither does Boris.
Both parents have already started to move on. Zhenya has been dating a wealthy older man, while Boris has already impregnated the lovely Masha (Marina Vasileva). While he has to keep his rocky marital status to himself at work, due to a devoutly Christian boss with an idealistic attitude to family life, he splits his time between Masha and her mother’s apartment and the sofa at ‘home’.
This all means that Alexey is largely ignored and one day, he just doesn’t come home. This forces the parents to come together again to find him, which will prove difficult since they don’t seem to know him at all. The film focuses on our two leads as they battle to put their past and their differences behind them to locate their only son before it’s too late. How the hell will this pan out?
Loveless is so devastating, genuinely with plenty of truly cutting dialogue. Young and beautiful Zhenya violently resents her soon-to-be-ex husband Boris and in turn, regrets ever having Alexey. She has a wicked way with words and doesn’t mince them. Will she live to regret her scathing language when it comes to her son?
Technically, this film is breathtaking – with lots of sweeping shots of a frozen urban landscape, it feels cold and bleak. Perfect for a film this sad. And in the search for Alexey we get to explore abandoned buildings and forest floors for clues, which is right up my street.
Will we find Alexey? Well, one things for sure – you’ll be tsking at the utter selfishness of his parents whilst sort of sympathising and feeling conflicted about that. I recommend this film hard but it’s no fairy tale, believe.