Darren Hanlon once sang that love is “Just a lazy generalisation that we use for one hundred different feelings and as many situations”. The film, An Unexpected Love (El amor menos pensado) certainly examines one of these kinds of love. It’s that of a mature couple who have been married for 25 years. They grapple with having fallen out of it and what follows is a long, slow-burning look at human chemistry.
Argentinian film producer, Juan Vera makes his directorial debut here with a script he co-wrote with Daniel Cúparo. The story centres on Marcos (Ricardo Darín) and Ana (a stand-out, Mercedes Morán). They are a pair who never fight but are crushed by the monotonous tedium of the everyday. They thought they were happy together but they’re forced to challenge this notion when their son (Andres Gil) decides to leave home and study abroad. It turns out that he had been the glue that was holding the family together all along.
This film features a lot of soul-searching and heart-to-hearts. The pair decide to separate and have to negotiate the vagaries of modern single-dom. There’s a presumptuous suitor (Juan Minujín) and an amorous lady from Tinder. It’s good to see this film challenging stereotypes and embracing the fact that we do not lose our sexual desires just because we age. This is a rich character study of human dynamics and relationships. If this had been edited down to about half of its length, it really would have cut through.
An Unexpected Love is a warm and charming little film that flits between comedy and drama. This shift in tone may grate some people, while others might find inspiration in the idea that it’s never too late to try something new. It has a cast of eccentric characters, and is convincing thanks to its natural rendering and performances. The result is a very human ode to the complexities of life and a salute to all the tension, tender moments, joy, and frustrations that can come along with it.
REVIEW SCORE: THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE).
An Unexpected Love opens in cinemas nationally on 4 July.