Film Reviews

Review: ‘LoveTrue’

Hot Docs 2016

Courtesy of Hot Docs


LoveTrue
(USA, 80 min.)
Dir. Alma Har’el
Programme: International Spectrum (International Premiere)

Alma Har’el’s trance doc, LoveTrue, recalls Terrence Malick’s work. The film opens on a cascading montage of nostalgic, enigmatic, seemingly unrelated images, and as it progresses, sometimes visualizes the dreams and fantasies of characters, one of whom is played by an actress. Feeding the intimacy of the picture, Malick-like voiceovers communicate private emotions.

Executive produced by Shia LaBeouf, the film works as a meditation on the constant craving for love, as well as its ambiguities and disappointments. Three stories unfold in disparate locations: Alaska, New York City, and Hawaii.

In New York, a black girl called Victory Boyd, whose soulful singing and guitar playing is one of the film’s highlights, performs spiritual music with her family. Victory and her siblings are suffering through their beloved father’s betrayal of his wife. John sees himself as a “love gambler,” forever searching for a dream lover.

Meanwhile in Alaska, Blake loves and desires religious Joel, but sex is out of the question because of his handicap. Complicating the relationship is the fact that Blake felt powerless and sexless until she became a stripper. And in spectacularly beautiful Hawaii, Will, a surfer dude, tries to give his young son unconditional love despite his rage that he is not the biological father.

Frustration, humiliation, and anger haunt the people in the film, but as one of them says, “If I have not loved, I am nothing.”

LoveTrue screens:
-Wednesday, May 4 at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 9:00 PM
-Friday, May 6 at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 4:00 PM
-Sunday, May 8 at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 3:45 PM

Please visit the POV Hot Docs hub for more coverage on this year’s festival.

Hot Docs runs April 28 – May 8. Visit www.hotdocs.ca for more information.

Maurie Alioff writes about movies for publications off- and on-line, and is a screenwriter currently collaborating on a documentary featuring Bob Marley’s granddaughter while researching other Jamaica-related projects, including a magical-realist crime story drawing on stories he hears on the island. He has written for radio, journals and TV, taught screenwriting and been a contributing editor to various magazines.

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