By Nadia Bee, Film Critic
Dirs: Michael Boccalini and Che Grant | With Anna Danshina, Steve Hodgetts | 1h23.
A funny and bittersweet tale that both punctures and celebrates romantic comedies. Can the loveliest man in the world finally realise his dreams?
An endearing comedy about a headlong pursuit of love, this first feature by Michael Boccalini and Che Grant celebrates romance gone awry. Comedian Steve Hodgetts plays Alex Clough, a man with a method. I met Steve during the Raindance Film Festival, where Love Possibly screened to sold out audiences, and asked him about his character.
Steve Hodgetts: Alex Clough is a hopeless romantic… His priority in life at the moment is not his career, it’s not any hobbies, it’s simply to find love. Like anyone else I suppose, but for him that’s the only thing that is important to him. Why does he want love so badly? He’s never had it before… And he is obsessed with romcoms, he starts to base his life around these Hollywood romcoms, these recipes for finding love. And he tries very hard to attain the same success as the lead characters – but unfortunately he slips along the way.
Nadia Bee: And he has a method.
SH: He does have a method, there are seven steps that he’s very nerdily dissected from generic romcoms: Boy meets girl, she wants something else, it goes into turmoil at the three quarter mark, he almost thinks that if he gets all of those points, if he hits them, he’ll find his the love of his life. Supposedly.
NB: And the course of true love never runs smooth…
SH: He’s very much under the impression that these rules apply in real life. But of course in real life you can’t engineer these things.
Steve describes Alex as the nicest guy in the world – loved a lot as a child, probably bullied at school, but ultimately hugely lovable. Life tends to get in the way of his dreams. His conversational skills don’t help either. And then there’s bad luck. But there is a certain something about him.
The film opens with an excruciating proposal scene. Alex pops the question while Lana, played by the admirable Anna Danshina, looks on with eyes as wide as saucers. The rest is history and Alex’s search for love turns into a madcap adventure. It a tale lovingly told, with fine performances and actors who revel in ramping up the discomfort. In a family dinner conversation that is as excruciating as the proposal scene, Alex squirms as his mother’s boyfriend waxes unlyrically about her – one of a series of set pieces that tread that fine line between cringe and guffaws. If Alex is perceived by everyone around him to be the odd one out, it’s quickly obvious that he is surrounded by people who only appear to be normal.
Jaryl Lim’s cinematography skilfully adopts the look and feel of a high end romcom, with beautifully lit, deeply saturated images. It transforms what might otherwise be a cheerful low budget independent film into the Hollywood romcom experience Alex yearns for. This is a device that works very well, and that somehow adds greater emotional depth to a succession of goofy scenes.
The bittersweet, slightly dark humour in Love Possibly has been honed by Steve Hodgetts and director Michael Boccalini in their previous work. They gig around various clubs as the comedy duo Bingo Schnauzer. Check them out on their eponymous YouTube channel while waiting for their next film.
Directors: Michael Boccalini and Che Grant
Cinematography: Jaryl Lim
With Anna Danshina, Steve Hodgetts, Julie Nesher, Michelle Thomas, Dean Kilbey.