Love Life starts off so slowly I almost stopped watching. But by about episode 3 or 4 things started to have meaning. My first impression was it was one of those annoying angsty stories about getting dumped. By the end of season 1, Love Life delivered. A second season is already approved at HBO Max.
Love Life stars Anna Kendrick as Darby. Her roommates, her lovers, her family, her coworkers all swirl around her in subplots of varying importance. In the beginning Darby was in that horrible stage of life where you can’t find your person, you keep forming relationships that are all wrong, and you are sure nobody will ever love you. Luckily, Darby slowly grows out of this as the episodes and years go by.
Sara (Zoë Chao) and Jim (Peter Vack) are Darby’s roommates. They’ve been a couple for several years. Sara is a hard-partying drug and alcohol user you can see heading for trouble from the first episode.
Mallory (Sasha Compère), on the left above, is her other roommate. Mallory is a lesbian and brings various women into the apartment. None of them get lines. Mallory herself has very few lines. Mallory finally settles on Taryn (Julia Shiplett), who might get a couple of lines. Sasha Compère really needs a bigger arc in season 2, because she was shortchanged in season 1.
There are several men in Darby’s life. The season takes several years, plus flashbacks to her first boyfriend in high school. Magnus (Nick Thune), above, was a chef.
Augie (Jin Ha), above, was a writer. Other men came along played by Scoot McNairy, Kingsley Ben-Adir, John Gallagher Jr., Gus Halper and more. I don’t want to spoil things by revealing what happened in each relationship. I will reveal that Darby grew from every one of them, learned from every one of them.
Darby’s mother, Claudia (Hope Davis), was also a relationship in need of growth and healing. As life with men improved (make that life in general), Darby was able to improve her life with her mother.
The title is a play on words. It’s about Darby’s love life. It’s also about learning how to love life. The episodes where Darby grows into loving life are among the best of the season.
The series was created by Sam Boyd, with a diverse group of writers working behind him. There were women directors: Stephanie Laing, Tricia Brock, Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, and Anu Valia. In my opinion, the best episodes were the ones directed by women.
The episode “Sara Yang” directed by Stephanie Laing was the strongest and most powerful episode of the 10. It gave Zoë Chao the opportunity to really dig deep for her brilliant performance. And it was a great episode to show how Darby had grown as a person.
The last episode of season one brought in 2020 on New Year’s Eve. I don’t know about you, but I experience serious cognitive dissonance when I see how it was before – raising a toast to the new year 2020 as you normally would, or dancing in a crammed club, or walking down a crowded street. There was plenty of that in this series.
Take a look at the trailer. This is one that was shown on the BBC, but it’s a made in America series.
Are you going to check this one out?