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Bruce Dinsmore, Julia Dawi, Isabelle Moreau, Jillian Harris
Christian Belz Parenteau
76 Mins.

 "Love or Lust" Serves Up Intelligent Romance  
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This Canadian production directed by Christian Belz Parenteau is a breezy yet thought-filled romance geared toward adults starring Simon Boisvert, who also wrote the film, as Mark, a middle-aged man in a long-term relationship with Stephanie (Jillian Harris) whose relative stability is thrown into chaos when the notably younger woman gets restless and decides to move on. A chance encounter with a former college flame (Isabelle Moreau) rekindles that flame, though her frequent business trips with a former lover, Steve (Bruce Dinsmore), cause a growing tension despite Steve's having moved on with Michelle (Diana Lewis). 

At a sparse 76-minute running time, Love or Lust is a thought-provoking but not particularly substantial adult romantic drama that tackles intimate yet universal themes in a fairly straightforward way that is more intellectually than emotionally compelling. The film really blossoms when Mark and Julie (Moreau) re-connect, their chemistry feeling natural and their personalities just different enough to create both believable romance and a genuine tension. Boisvert does a nice job of keeping Mark an interesting fellow, somewhat self-involved yet richly human enough that it's not a complete turn-off. Moreau's Julie is more settled, a successful woman who has seemingly processed through many of her life experiences and is resolved in her success and her life. The rest of the supporting players avoid the one-note caricatures so often found in this type of film and do quite the fine job.

Love or Lust goes a few unique places, a somewhat surprising fact given the film's limited run time, though for the most part it's that rare intelligent romantic drama that will likely appeal mostly to middle-aged folks who will resonate with its themes of trust, commitment, insecurity and the seemingly lifelong struggle to simply surrender to that which will make us happy. 

If you get a chance, check it out.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic

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