You I Love Movie Review

With its matter-of-fact, almost lighthearted depiction of open sexualityand homosexuality in modernized Moscow, "You I Love" may be culturallygroundbreaking in Russian cinema, but out of that context, it's littlemore than a comedy-drama of shorthand emotions and unlikely relationships.

Fast and choppy (at 83 minutes), and sometimes deliberatelycheesy (as a comical riff on the main character's job in TV advertising),the story expects one to believe that a homeless, Eurasian-hillbilly daylaborer -- so unsophisticated that he's baffled by the magic machines thatdispense cash outside of banks -- is such a master of gay seduction thatin one evening he can come between a new-economy yuppie and his intelligent,drop-dead gorgeous, sexual-dynamo girlfriend.

But even if this life-changing encounter wasn't so hardto buy, the resulting relationship certainly is. These two men have notone thing in common outside the bedroom. Timofei (Evgeny Koryakovsky) worksin an international office and owns his own condo (where he inexplicablygoes to sleep at night with his front door wide open), while Uloomji (DamirBadmaev) sleeps in the zoo and spreads honey on toast with unwashed fingers.

The film begins with the hetero romance, which is contagiouslycharming even though it has credibility problems of its own: She's sexyand famous (a TV news reader) and he's a wishy-washy nerd in designer suits.Actress Lyubov Tolkalina, who looks like a more accessible and vulnerableAngelina Jolie, has the talent to keep the first act afloat by genuinelyselling her insecure, almost obsessive adoration for her skinny, milksoplover.

But "You I Love" becomes more far-fetched witheach twist of romantic fate. Soon Timofei is following his backwater boyfriendto the ends of the earth, hoping for one of those happy endings in whichtraditional rural parents come to accept unconventional love and more open-mindedgirlfriends go in for relationship threesomes.

Whether or not these dreams come to pass is a little hardto say since directors Olga Stolpovskaja and Dmitry Troitsky have a tendencyto leap suddenly forward in time without resolving -- sometimes withouteven addressing -- the primary conflicts of the plot.

"You I Love" is thick with sexual chemistry andunexpected humor -- and visually it's distinctly creative, as when a passionate,tamely risque and beautifully photographed sexual encounter gives way toa freeze-frame montage designed to mock exactly such scenes. But all thatjust makes the picture feel like an implausible, superficial knock-offof a Pedro Amolodovar flick.

Cast & Crew

Director : , Dmitry Troitsky

Comments

You I Love Rating

" Grim "

Rating: Unrated, LIMITED: Friday, April 1, 2005

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