Love or Lust (2016) – By Shari K. Green

 

Directed by: Christian Belz Parenteau
Starring: Izabelle Moreau, Simon Boisvert, Jillian Harris and Bruce Dinsmore

“Love or Lust” is an independent film written and produced by the lead actor Simon Boisvert who plays Mark, an older man who goes on a trip to the country with his much younger girlfriend, Stephanie (Harris). It’s the same trip they’ve been taking for years, only this time he’s dumped not long after getting there. Realizing that they really don’t have much in common and seem to barely know one another, Stephanie decides it’s time to get to know what awaits her outside of their relationship. Having gotten with him at such a young age she wants to get to know other people and have a chance to know herself. While on vacation, he wants to play board games, which bores her, this much she knows. He wants to walk, she wants to hike. She’ll miss him but settles on leaving and does. Luckily for Mark he had just run into Julie (Moreau) an old girlfriend from college. This softens the blow of losing Stephanie but the damage done to his ego can never be repaired.

Though he knows he’s unfit to be in a relationship, he begins dating Julie again, something they both always wanted. We learn that they have a lot in common and most importantly that they’re both financially independent. Mark is sure of himself and shows Julie a wonderful time when they’re together but he’s unable to let go of the fact that she doesn’t necessarily need him. His unbridled insecurities flare when he learns of Julie’s co-worker Steve (Dinsmore) spending time with her away on business. Somewhat jealous of the time she sees Steve, he questions his own self worth and wonders why Julie would be interested in him. Julie explains that she loves Mark but she waves off his self-doubt. She explains the chemistry and love and questions whether he ever truly knew it, even for her. Eventually, he sabotages his new relationship never believing he was good enough for her.

I liked that this film comes from the unsure male perspective. There have been so many movies made showing the female point of view in this situation that this was a breath of fresh air in that respect but the overall execution of the film was trite and banal. Much of this could be blamed on the director yet a lot of the responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of its lead actor, Simon Boisvert, who was also the producer and writer. It seemed the script was written to just be a series of points of view the writer has on life, using monologues in a film to get his point heard. The director obviously indulged Boisvert by doing everything he could to keep wordy monologues just that, instead of using quick or smash cuts to give the story a faster pace. Mark couldn’t allow himself to be happy by not believing Julie’s love was real when it was; my guess is Parenteau didn’t believe in himself enough and may have let the dialogue lead the story instead of making it his own.

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