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The Independent Critic

Phillip James, Orlando Seale and Olivia Chappell
Becky Preston
86 Mins.
FilmWorks Entertainment
Audio Commentary; Deleted Scenes; "Making of" Featurette; Concept Art; Trailer

 "Lovelorn" Review 
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Lovelorn is set between the parallel worlds of contemporary London, a deserted afterlife and a mysterious dreamscape. A story of lost souls trying to save each other, Lovelorn is written and directed by Becky Preston and begins with a motorcycle that kills a young man and leaves his girlfriend, Lorna (Olivia Chappell), comatose. Lorna's brother, John (Phillip James), has always been protective and promises to bring her back at any cost including Challenging Death himself. To do so, John ventures into the dreamscape, a journey that puts his own life increasingly at risk and, quite possibly, is also done against the wishes of a grieving Lorna who longs to go search for her deceased boyfriend.

Picked up by FilmWorks Entertainment for a home video release, Lovelorn experienced quite a bit of success on the indie film fest circuit including prizes in the Accolade Competition, Athens International Film Festival, Mexico International Film Festival, Las Vegas International Film Festival, Honolulu International Festival, ReelHeART International Film Festival and the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival.

But, what can I say?

I hated it.

Lovelorn is a beautiful film, mostly owing to Adam Etherington's marvelous camera work and Rhiannon Preece-Towey's multi-layered production design that creates unique yet perfectly woven together parallel worlds for the film. As beautiful as the film was to look at, however, the film itself plays out with a heightened sense of drama that is never truly justified and performances, especially from Phillip James, that seem overly self-aware regarding the "importance" of the film's themes and underlying messages.

There's never really a point where Lovelorn is truly awful, but it's so consistently self-aware and irritating that there was never a single moment in the film where I felt able to surrender to the story, the characters or, for that matter, even the film's better than average production values.

Lovelorn does seem like a film that would be popular on the film festival circuit, its themes of a more intellectual nature and its quiet, almost meditative presentation more tailored towards a festival's typically more discerning crowd. While I usually find myself to be a fan of nearly anything related to British cinema, Lovelorn left me longing for the old British romantic comedies of the Working Title folks.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic