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LoveTrue

“I wish we could make a movie only about good things,” laments Will Hunt (code name: Coconut Willie). A lovelorn surfer and single father, he’s one of three characters – it’s fair to call them that – in this hybrid documentary by Bombay Beach director Alma Har’el. Traversing the notion of love in all its colours, shades and shapes, LoveTrue is less of an essay film and more like a painted poem. With its opening riff on a passage from Corinthians lilting over wistful imagery, it’s clear from right out of the gate that this is an exercise in style as much as substance. Willie is your basic young man, living the simple Hawaiian life of a coconut water vendor, doing his darndest to raise his baby right. In Alaska, Warhammer fan Blake was “born a nerd,” but now must balance a relationship with her boyfriend and her job as an exotic dancer. Victory lives in New York with her large family, save her mum who has seemingly deserted the prodigious singer, along with her siblings and their father. Despite the disparate locations, each of Har’el’s subjects has been touched by the universal experiences of love, faith and hope. The documentary grapples with love’s many guises: romantic, parental, religious, vocational. It also depicts the heart’s darker repercussions, such as Willie’s latent inclination toward violence, Blake’s tight grip on childhood trauma, and Victory’s blindness to her father’s abusive tendencies. Curiously, platonic love is not examined. Though Will, Blake and Victory are all young adults, they appear to be loners, lacking in close social ties. Rather, their family relationships are a focal point for Har’el. Love’s evil stepsisters Hate, Fear and Depression manifest in the film via divorce, bullying, loneliness, and the enduring consequences of separating children from their parents. Intimate observational and interview sequences reveal the characters’ passions, while dreamlike (sometimes nightmarish) dramatisations bring deep-seated anxietie...