I know this time of year is reserved for the macabre and creepy. In a strange and unexpected attempt to rebel (I mean Halloween is my favorite time of year), I ended up watching Amazon Prime’s, “Modern Love.” Not only is it a break from the ghostly, it is also a break from the big-budgeted, grand and ostentatious. “Modern Love” does not take place in some fantasy realm or outer space, nor does it feature any super villain or super hero or an extraordinarily-abled human.
“Modern Love” first began as a column in the The New York Times in 2004. In 2016, it became a successful podcast with the likes of Marissa Tomei, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Amanda Seyfried, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Natasha Lyonne, Gillian Anderson, Olivia Munn, Ethan Hawke, Rachel Weisz, Mike Coulter, Saoirse Ronan, Chloe Grace Moretz, Pedro Pascal and Greta Gerwig, just to name a few, reading the essays.
Now it’s an anthology with eight episodes about 30 minutes each. You don’t really have to watch one to appreciate the other. The last episode, “The Race Grows Sweeter Near It’s Final Lap,” has characters from the first seven episodes appearing in the end.
“Modern Love” is a bit like “Love, Actually” meets those old Woody Allen films, in small doses. All the short episodes take place in New York City.
It’s about love that’s lost (and waiting to be found again) and love you find in the oddest of situations. It’s about being loved as you are — not just at your best but at your messiest and most vulnerable.
The cast includes Dev Patel, Tina Fey, Anne Hathaway, Sofia Boutella and Andrew Scott. Anne Hathaway is great as a bipolar woman; the sweetest performance though is from Laurentiu Possa as Guzmin in the first episode called “When the Doorman Is Your Main Man.”
Sure the cast looks great, and many of the characters are successful and or are well off. But because the need for love, understanding, tenderness, care and companionship is so human and so universal, you can see versions of yourself and people you know in the stories.
It’s brutal out there — trolls are on the internet, spewing hate in the comments section, Facebook perpetuates memes that make us fight, traffic dehumanizes us and turns us into tired sacks landing on the bed at the end of each day, noise is everywhere, people are in your face. It’s almost like each day you’re doing battle. We even do battle over things that are supposed to be fun and relaxing (have you seen people argue or get worked up and stressed out about “Star Wars” or “Batman”?)
If you want to tip the scales a bit for the other side, you can give this a try or better yet, just read some of the many, many essays or listen to the podcasts. A few are bound to hit home.