Say what you will about quarantine (just kidding, I think we can all agree it’s been a drag), but we were pretty lucky to get The Lovebirds on Netflix! I was interested in the film but don’t often get to the theater for romcoms, so the situation worked perfectly for me. Even better, I loved the movie! Check out our full review below:
Not offensive to women = 1/1 pt
Features a woman as the main protagonist and/or supporting character = 2/2 pts
Passes the Bechdel-Wallace test = 3/3 pts
The movie tells the story of a couple who have drifted apart over the years of their relationship. Not only do petty squabbles divide them, they are out of sync with each other. The moment they break up, they witness a murder that forces them to go on the run together.
The movie passes for all three of these early sections, which is part of what makes it good. When I watch or read romances, I’m always looking for well-rounded couples, meaning they have friends or interests outside of each other. Passing the Bechdel-Wallace is one way to do that.
Artistic and/or Entertaining = 4/4 pts
Let’s start with those leads! Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani are solid comedians, so
it’s no surprise the jokes and physical humor landed. The characters are out of their depth the whole movie as they try to stay one step ahead of cops and criminals alike. It makes for a lot of comedic potential!
As a fan of the mystery genre, I really liked a romcom with a mystery aspect. The romance still feels front and center though, as the characters begin to understand each other again. The growth of the characters is wrapped up in their experience together, not a subplot to the mystery.
Above and Beyond General Media = 5/5 pts
I’m on a mission lately to watch and read high-quality romances. As I mentioned above, well-rounded characters are step one. It’s pretty easy to dissolve into tropes, and frankly that’s what Jibran and Leilani do to each other at the beginning of the movie, calling each other “shallow” (a female trope) and “satisfied with being a failure” (a slacker male trope) as long-simmering tensions finally spill into a relationship-ending fight. The movie doesn’t prove them right, though. When it would have been easier to claim the pair love each other despite their flaws, the movie chooses instead to undo these misconceptions. I hate when romcoms show us bad people miraculously changed by love (read: the douchebag hot guy) or sweep aside obvious incompatibility (read: women being trained to believe love and kindness will fix someone, when really they’d be better off alone). In The Lovebirds, Jibran and Leilani must actually do the work to get on the same page, and start seeing each other as well-rounded people again.
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