Love sick aka Legături bolnăvicioase tells the story of Alexandra and Cristina, two students who fall in love and try to make their relationship work, as Cristina's brother, Sandu, always gets in the way of their happiness. His involvement and role in the girl's life is revealed from the beginning and it changes the story, now having two delicate themes to work on, as the title suggest. The romance between the two girls starts innocently, with shy looks and stollen kisses, and soon transforms into a sweet, full of love connection that only trembles at the sight of Sandu. Cristina is overly protective and weirdly secretive of him, and as much as she loves Alex, she cannot let got of her brother, and that will ultimately come between them.
Overall, the film is not perfect: there are some gaps in the script and some situations and feelings are never properly explained, but sometimes that is better for the story. It keeps a little bit of mystery over the already exposed relationships and makes you think.
BUT there are some wonderful little things that make the movie special.
First of all,the acting in it is superb: I don't know if you will think the same, but to me it looked amazing, as all of the stars perfectly portrayed their characters, displaying a sense of reality and emotion that is hard to transmit- when I say reality, I talk about how a normal Romanian person would act or talk. Their chemistry has palpable and seemed real, especially between the girls, and it was interesting to watch so many legendary Romanian actors in supporting roles: the lady who rents the room for Alex (probably one of my favourite characters- she is the incarnation of the typical over 50 lonely woman living on a pension), the parents, especially Kiki's mother and Alex's father, the taxi driver at the end (famous rapper) and the older woman who travels with Sandu (huge celebrity over here). As for the three main characters, what can I say? Maria Popistasu (you might have seen her in Tuesday, after Christmas, another well received national movie) played Cristina with a carefree, but sensitive spirit, who worries too much about the people around her instead of her own happiness; I liked this character best, although I probably identify myself more with Alex. One of my favourite scenes is when she calls a special person to leave a Happy Birthday message- her voice, the way she talks to it, her bittersweet words that almost erupt with love and longing are just wonderful, as crazy and inappropriate it seems. (you'll understand when you'll see the movie). Ioana Barbu was the perfect Alex to Popistasu's Cristina, showcasing perfectly the sweet, innocent, rather naive character (it was also her debut in acting). Sandu, played by Tudor Chirila, a famous singer in Romania, didn't have enough screen time, but that helped the movie get its much needed mystery- in the end, you still haven't figured him out, and maybe that is for the best, as the core of the story was the relationship between the girls.
Second of all, I loved the cinematography of it and most of the ways Tudor Giurgiu decided to shoot the movie. The first scene is a beautifully set and lighted image of two lovers in an intimate moment, and the score, a melancholic instrumental of a rare Coldplay song perfectly fits it. (actually that instrumental comes along in many parts of the film). I also love the way the director focuses on their hands, as if that small gesture can show us the intensity of their love or their true feelings- and you know what? It works every time.
As I said in the beginning, the pace might be problem for some, but if you like character development stories or films that focus on relationships, you will definitely like this one. I find it to be little bit similar to Weekend, the 2011 British feature, so if you enjoyed that, check out this, as well.
Love sick is not the best Romanian film you can find out there, but it has its magic points, so if you want to discover my national cinema, I wold recommend seeing 432 and this film, for starters.
Tell me: how you ever seen a Romanian film? If YES, which one and how was it? If NOT, would you be interested? Should I continue my Romanian Cinema series?
The only Romanian film I believe I've seen as of yet is 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Though it's very cold, dark and disturbing, I gave it 10/10. You should definitely give it a shot next. Great review btw.ReplyDelete
Thanks, I am glad you liked it, I will definitely see 432 soon!Delete
I don't think I've seen any Romanian cinema (not that I can remember). Love Sick sounds really good though, and it's fascinating to hear your thoughts on your home country's national cinema. Lovely review!ReplyDelete
Thanks Ruth, you should try seeing one- start with 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days!Delete
The only Romanian New Wave films I've seen are The Death of Mr. Lazarescu and 4 Months, 3 Weeks, & 2 Days. The latter of which I think is a masterpiece.ReplyDelete
The death of Mr Lazarescu was a good movie- sometimes overly realistic, unfortunately- the things that happen there are frequent in our country. I will see 432 soon, I am curious, I think I won't be that objective, just because I am from Romania....or maybe I will love it even more than you! We'll see!Delete
I love Romanian films, and have seen quite a few of the New Wave titles. I find it interesting how these films are far more successful outside of Romania, yet hardly get any attention in their home country. A complaint I've read a few of the directors make in interviews. But it makes sense after reading your perspective on it. Perhaps what makes these films so interesting to me, seeing these lives and times portrayed so realistically, is the exact reason why someone who has lived through them might not care to be reminded of it.ReplyDelete
Regarding this specific film, I loved the cinematography, it's the only Romanian film I've seen that I would classify as beautifully shot. But I wasn't as convinced by the acting and didn't see the intense chemistry between the two girls.
Anyhow, I do hope you continue to review other Romanian films. I'm very interested in reading your perspective on them.
I also like the fact that most of the films are realistic, but sometimes they overreact...I don't know how to properly explain it, it's just that they put all the misery and drama in the spotlight and make that the centerpiece of the movie, and don't really focus on direction, for example, or cinematography.Delete
I personally liked the acting in this one just because the girls played the part exactly how you would see a 20 year Romanian student act, that's why it was ok for me, but I get your point, too.
Thanks for the encouragement, I will definitely post some more about the national cinema!
Oh my, I didn't know you're Romanian, that's cool! I love how international the blogging community is. I'm originally from Indonesia and now resides in the States, so it's always nice to *meet* people from different nations.ReplyDelete
I have not seen a Romanian movie, but this one sounds intriguing. To be honest I don't watch too many films from my home country either. Great review Diana!
I am from Romania, but now living in London...I might go back soon, though :( Thanks Ruth!Delete
I watched "A fost sau n-a fost? "12:08 East of Bucharest a few years ago in Istanbul Film Festival. I loved it. I'm pretty sure that I watched more Romanian movies but I cannot recall their names right now.ReplyDelete
I have the DVD of 432 but I'm afraid of watching it. Espacially in these days. This month, our "ministry of health" said that the governmnet will try to make it difficult to get an abortion. they believe women use abortion as a brith control?! anyway, there were protests all over the country, so the government seems stepped back. and if I watch that movie right now, I can turn into a very mad and sad person I'm sure hahaha
That's so cool that you got to see Romanian films at the cinema, I hope you enjoyed them. As for 432, I get the reluctance, maybe you should put it off for a while...or maybe you should see it now and face the demon. Your choice!Delete
I liked your review, and i loved this movie.. ("Love Sick"). I watched it long time ago.. :) I like some romanian movies very much and i also think that romanian movie industry have blossomed.. I miss Romania sometimes.. (my ex-boyfriend was Romanian..) :)ReplyDelete