Streamer: Amazon Prime Video from August 13
Length: 8 x episodes (29-35 minutes each)
You know what we don’t get much of in 2021? Other than the ability to leave the house with any consistent regularity, we mean? Rom-coms. In this golden era of television and mostly-superhero-flicks-and-remakes era of movies, the humble romantic comedy is in short supply.
Where’s this generation’s When Harry Met Sally? A technologically updated You’ve Got Mail? Or Notting Hill but with a TikTok star? If you’re looking at the local cinema, nowhere.
However, Amazon Prime Video has you covered with Modern Love season two: which is basically eight bite-sized rom coms for the price of one.
Modern Love’s first season was loosely based on a column of the same name that ran in the New York Times. Season two breaks away from the ‘set in New York’ conceit and expands the show to a global perspective. It’s a good call.
So, what we end up with is eight 29-35 minute long stories all with a focus on love, romance and everything that unites us. Some are funny, some are sad, and some… aren’t all that great.
See, that’s the blessing and curse of an anthology series: every new episode is a chance for greatness or mediocrity. Modern Love is appropriately full of hits and misses, but when they work they do so beautifully.
Take the episode titled “A Life Plan For Two, Followed By One”. This is the story of Lil (Dominique Fishback) who falls in love with her school bestie Vince (Isaac Powell). We follow the pair as they grow up and Lil tries to escape the “friendzone” with not ideal results…
But then, instead of becoming predictable or twee, the episode goes a different way, and ends up spinning a heartwarming yarn that earns its ending without resorting to a formulaic conclusion.
The best of the bunch by a long way is “On a Serpentine Road, With the Top Down”. This is the story of Stephanie Curran (Minnie Driver) a woman who must come to terms with the fact she has to sell her gorgeous, but decrepit, vintage car.
What becomes clear throughout the episode, however, is that this car means more to Stephanie than she claims, and presents a portal into the past to the memory of her late husband Michael (Tom Burke).
We won’t go into further detail here, but let’s just say you’ll want to have an extra big box of jumbo size tissues ready for this exquisite, heartbreaking yet uplifting tale. Have some wine close to hand, though. Just in case.
On the other side of the coin, the much-touted Kit Harington starrer “Strangers on a (Dublin) Train” is just… okay. A quirky riff on much better flicks like Before Sunrise, it just doesn’t go anywhere particularly interesting and ends abruptly.
Although Kit is probably used to starring in shows with unsatisfying endings by now…
Ultimately, Modern Love season two offers a rich helping of love-centered stories in bite sized chunks. And while not every offering is a delicious one, the best of them more than make up for the lesser entries.
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