I’m a sucker for a good love story, I admit it: As a teenager I discovered Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise (1995) and became an instant fan, discovering all of his old films and keeping track of his career ever since. Followed by 2 sequels, the Before trilogy has been a regular viewing fixture in my life; the characters feel like old friends and I like to visit them from time to time. I’m have an emotional attachment to these characters because they feel so real; and now with Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson’s mumblecore fantasy hybrid, Spring, I have found myself smitten once again; the same way I was as a teenage boy, sitting in my underwear, watching love blossom between Jesse and Celine.
Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) has just lost his mother and decides to take a trip to Italy to avoid problems at home; he’s in a dead end job and possibly facing assault charges, so on the advice of a one night stand, he boards the first random flight the next day. When he arrives he meets the beautiful and mysterious, Louise (Nadia Hilker), and they spark up a romance. However, Louise is harbouring a dark secret.
Spring is, first and foremost, a love story about two troubled characters meeting by chance and discovering an undeniable bond. The chemistry between them is natural: the way they get to know each other is naturalistic, whether it’s taking their time to roam the streets deep in conversation, or just sharing a bottle of wine, it all feels very organic and natural. The mumblecore aesthetic is never pretentious in the slightest.
The horror/fantasy element might be too divergent for some to accept, and it’s understandable why one might feel that way; with such a sweet blossoming love story between 2 people who are extremely likeable, you just want to see them live happily ever after without complications. But, the addition of the darker elements only strengthens the idea of true love; if you can love someone unconditionally, regardless of what they’re like at their worst, then you’ve found the one, and that’s the message I believe the story is portraying. A great man who goes by the name, Haddaway, once asked the question, what is love? Love is embracing someone at their very best and worst. That’s what love is, people.
Spring deserves all of the plaudits it’s receiving; it’s a wonderful love story that isn’t afraid to remind you that love can be as difficult as it can be beautiful. Benson and Moorhead have created the ultimate date movie for those who aren’t interested in Hollywood’s unrealistic fables. This isn’t a horror movie at all; but the idea of our protagonists perhaps not getting the happily ever after they deserve is more horrifying than a monster eating people. If there’s a hopeless romantic inside you then Spring is going to tug on your heart strings. From locations; to story; to performances; to the score, this is the most beautiful movie you’re likely to see this year, and it accomplishes this without hitting any corny high notes. 9/10
Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead
Lou Taylor Pucci, Nadia Hilker, Vanessa Bednar
Romance, Sci-Fi, Horror