Almost Love

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Almost Love Movie Poster Image
Charming (if familiar), mature NYC-set ensemble romcom.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 92 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Looks at how friend groups can provide unconditional support and a sense of community for one another during times of personal crisis -- and also at how easy it can be for people with jobs and homes to take their lives for granted.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The friend group is diverse in various ways, other than socioeconomically (with exception of Henry). The friends love and support one another, particularly through difficult circumstances, especially romantic/domestic problems.

Violence

A group of friends plays "slap shots," slapping each other when they have a shot. A character almost seriously slaps his partner (as part of the game) until he falls and hurts himself. Two characters get hurt during a sexual act. A dying character is shown in a hospital bed.

Sex

Various couples kiss and discuss having sex or are shown during foreplay/after sex. One couple is fooling around under the covers when things go awry. A character in a committed relationship receives a flirtatious, shirtless text from someone. A 30-something character is kissed by a 17-year-old.

Language

Frequent use of strong language, including "f--k," "f--king," "f--ked," "s--t," "a--hole," "f-gs," "p---y," "bitch," etc.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink at various meals and parties. A character who claims he's in AA is seen drinking in secret.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Almost Love is an ensemble romantic comedy set in New York City. It's about a diverse group of characters dealing with a variety of personal issues. Actor-turned-writer/director Mike Doyle's first feature doesn't shy away from strong language (particularly "f--k," but also "s--t," "a--hole," and "p---y"). But sex is limited to a few kisses, conversations about frequency of sex, and one sex act gone awry that ends up with both partners in pain. There's one kiss between an adult woman and an underage young man. Characters drink socially, and one supposedly-in-AA character is seen sneaking drinks. Friends slap each other playfully, and a dying character is shown in a hospital bed. The movie explores mature themes like adultery, monogamy, homelessness, and professional dissatisfaction. Both same-sex and opposite-sex couples are featured. The humor is pretty typical of the genre: bad dates, miscommunications, opposites attracting, and more.

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What's the story?

ALMOST LOVE opens with an awkward double date between Adam (Scott Evans) and Marklin (Augustus Prew) -- who are celebrating their fifth anniversary -- and Cammy (Michelle Buteau) and her new love interest, Henry (Colin Donnell). As Adam, a "ghost painter" for a critically acclaimed artist, and Marklin, a popular men's fashion influencer, enter couples' therapy, they discover that their friends are also struggling in their romantic lives. Cammy has discovered that Henry isn't just "cheap," he's actually temporarily homeless. College-prep tutor Haley (Zoe Chao) has a 17-year-old student who's in love with her. And long-married Elizabeth (Kate Walsh) might not be as happy as she seems.

Is it any good?

This is a fine, if not remarkable, entry in the overpopulated genre of New York City-set romcoms about privileged characters with heart. Evans is a standout as Adam, the artist who's set aside his own original work to paint what a much more famous artist simply signs her name to and claims as her own. His mid-30s crisis is the most believable, as he attempts to navigate a safe but stalled career alongside the meteoric rise of his influencer partner. And Prew deserves notice for making that modern job of internet-famous social media influencer seem like real, old-fashioned work. He's wearing a $4,000 coat, but he manages not to be a vapid or vain caricature.

Although there are three talented actresses in Almost Love -- TV veteran Walsh and comedians Buteau and Chao -- their storylines are all supporting. Buteau is the funniest as Cammy, who can't figure out whether to laugh or cry about the fact that she's sleeping with someone without an address. And Chao exudes goody-goody charm as a tutor who likes to be needed by her cute (if clueless) student, Scott James (Christopher Gray). The always excellent Patricia Clarkson makes a far too short appearance as Ravella Brewer, the artist who outsources her paintings; if only she could have been in more scenes. Although the film's tone occasionally steers too far toward drama for a romantic comedy, it's still a solid romcom debut for writer/director Doyle.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of ensemble romantic comedies. Why are they so likable? Which are some of your favorites?

  • Discuss the class issues present in Almost Love. How do the characters approach each other differently because of their class status? Is the portrayal of someone who's temporarily homeless funny?

  • Do you consider anyone in the movie a role model? If so, what character strengths do they display?

Movie details

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