New York City is both realistically gritty and romantically inspiring. It makes you feel like anything is possible because after all, a lot must happen in the city that never sleeps.
Modern Love on Amazon Prime perfectly depicts the realism and romanticism of New York City. Artistic films are usually found in independent movies because they don’t appeal to popular viewers enough to go mainstream. However, Modern Love walks the line between being artistic and intellectually interesting while being something that you can easily binge-watch on a lazy day at home. All of the 8 episodes revolve around love, but not from the traditional stereotypical perspective of love that our society is accustomed to.
They explore how choosing life even when pregnancy comes at a less-than-perfect time can still be beautiful. And how relationships don’t have to be perfect or ideal at all times to still be good or worth the effort of trying. But at the same time, acknowledging some relationships just do not work and can be strangling to those involved.
A flame from the past may shed light on the coldness of a situation, or the opportunity of rekindling the warmth of a current relationship. One of the important intricacies of this story is that the past flame was real, but still in the past. It’s a memory, not a future.
In one cringe inducing episode, a girl goes on a date with an older male colleague. She is suffering from severe daddy-issues and sees in this older gentleman the “dad figure” that she is missing in her life. He misconstrues her feelings toward him and eventually takes romantic steps. She’s outraged and responds by angrily telling him that all she wanted was an innocent dad relationship.
This is where the show gets it better than I expect from modern Hollywood. The man is embarrassed, not angry. He is a little lost because he so obviously misread the girl, but he is not depicted as a complete babbling fool that drags his knuckles and only responds to immature humor or violence. In other words, he is a multi-dimensional male character that is neither reduced to being feminine nor a dumbed down stereotype of a man.
In another episode, a couple is adopting a baby from a pregnant homeless woman. One of the men gets upset with the free-and-easy style of the pregnant woman who is staying in their apartment before she has the baby. During the argument, she lets out a brutal indictment of him,
“You read The New York Times and bitch about Trump but you mean none if it. You’re a hipster liberal.”
He more or less accepts that he is a “hipster liberal”, apologizes to her, and helps bring the baby into this world. At the end of it, he is explaining to his little girl why her Mommy doesn’t live with them and only visits every so often because she is like an ancient hunter-gatherer, but they stay in one place because they’re capitalists.
“We wouldn’t survive a second in the wild because there are no restaurants or Wholefoods or therapists or hospitals for when you get sick or books for you to read or movies for you to watch.”
Sometimes, love is not romantic at all. Modern Love shows us this in multiple different ways and through many different relationships. Women and men deal with dating, mental illness, pregnancy, marriage, and life in general. In the end, these people of New York City are portrayed with all their flaws and charms, and all the stories are interwoven in the common threads of love and humanity.