Tepid Love: A Review Of Modern Love
Modern Love on Amazon Prime is pretty and bland
Amazon Prime’s Modern Love is adapted from stories published in the popular, eponymous New York Times column. Many of the actors in the eight half-hour episodes are established stars such as Anne Hathaway, Andy Garcia, Dev Patel, Catherine Keener and Tina Fey. But the material they have to work with is weak, and its demographic oddly narrow, given the vast and varied city in which it is set. There are fleeting moments of genuine tenderness, and the sourness in the Tina-Fey episode is a bracing antidote to the tooth-rotting sweetness elsewhere. Too often though—despite the window dressing of mental-health issues, death, parenting, adoption, class—the episodes are just vacant.
As for politics, I can only remember one line with bite. In an episode about a gay couple’s relationship with a young, voluntarily homeless woman whose unborn baby they want to adopt, she has a fight with the priggish half of the well-off couple : “... You mean none of it,” she screams, “you’re not interested in your community, you just like the idea of it ... you’re a hipster liberal.” This is a hipster-liberal series, gesturing at seriousness, at what it means to love and be loved without the courage to engage, to get its hands messy with the complexities, the ugliness, the violence, the anger that lurks beneath and alongside love, the darkness that you hope that love can hold at bay. A second season is in the works, but as David Bowie once sang, “Never gonna fall for modern love.”