LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED? is one of the most effective and touching films I have seen in years. It could have become a polemic so easily and yet this sensitive and touching screenplay draws real people and not political statements. When creating a world where sexual roles are reversed(and, therefore, so is the power hierarchy) the filmmakers could lead us down a road of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm. But that is not the case. These characters breathe on their own and not as some stereotypes created to make a point. And the performances of each and every actor finds the touch of identifiable humanity that makes this film so poignant. I do not know what film some of the reviewers here saw, but my experience was one of needing Kleenex for real tears for the first time in a very long time.
Love Is All You Need?
Action / Drama
Love Is All You Need?
Action / Drama
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Based on the award-winning critically-acclaimed short film, "Love is All You Need?" is the theatrical feature-length version that explores bullying, racism, and prejudice in a way never done before on the big screen. As you read this, a preteen or teen in the United States has committed suicide. Teen suicide in the LGBT community has gained immense popularity on a larger social scale then ever before. While the interest in this social dilemma is thrust into the spotlight, none have ever before addressed this social issue in such a manner as Kim Rocco Shields' newest film. Love Is All You Need? thrusts its audience into another thought of existence that does more than just acknowledge there is a serious social problem affecting the gay community and does more than just talk about the issue. In Love Is All You Need? its audience lives the issue. Different people and their individual, unique lives intertwine and collide in a world confronted with controversy and forbidden love. This world is very much like our own: filled with family gatherings at church, kids playing in the yard, and college frat parties. Except these families are led by same-sex couples, and homosexuality is the expectation. To be heterosexual is to be shunned and ridiculed because it means you are different. In this world, to be GAY is right and to be STRAIGHT is wrong. That's the world of Jude Klein, star quarterback of the Sparta University football team. While celebrating her most recent win at the Phi Beta Lambda fraternity house party, Jude meets sports journalist Ryan Morris. The two quickly form a romantic bond that must be hidden from the rest of the world. Cold, cruel local priest Rachel Duncan discovers this secret affair and is inspired to fervently organize a hateful campaign against the local "hetero". Meanwhile, 11-year-old Emily is often teased at her elementary school and kicked off her school's football team. She finds comfort in her new friendship with Ian Santilli, one of her male classmates. Ashley forms a crush on her new playmate, despite how strongly her mother Karen is against being straight. These separate stories connect to one another in unexpected ways as each of them struggle with their own problems in this "gay" world. When you live in a world that hates the way you love, is really love all you need?
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Did some of these reviewers see the same film I did?
Great premise marred by a very misguided execution
Let me start off by saying that the premise to this film is top notch. A world that is homonormative and where heterosexuals are ostracized and shunned should make for a unique and interesting take on a hot button issue. What we got was a half-baked mess that leaned more on the experience of the woman, and rarely showed life as it might have been for men, who have been the ones that have historically had the short end of the stick in that regard. We see endless scenes of women kissing women, and women flirting with men, but the men/men scenes are kept off-screen, with no two guys even holding hands or even pecking lips for the duration of the film. The gay struggle has ALWAYS affected men more than it will ever affect women; why did this film maker choose to focus on the less oppressed?
This movie should have focused on a male lead, that is faced with coming to terms with his heterosexuality. The child should have been a male that was coming to terms with liking girls instead of boys. As the ones that are insertive as opposed to solely being receptive, the man would theoretically have a much more difficult time in this world. How would they procreate? How would a man carry a baby? The stigmas of that world would definitely affect a man in more damaging ways than it would a woman, so why the focus on "her" instead of "Him"?
That's where this movie lost me. This movie comes off as some self-indulgent crap, possibly from someone who considers themselves an "ally". They think that they are doing the gay community a service by making movies like this, but all it is doing is making the homophobic loons and religious nutbags froth at the mouth about "heavy-handed story telling" and "propaganda".
Had this movie made more of an effort to focus on the men that would suffer in such a society, it would have possibly made a much greater impact. But, just like in this world, women get a pass. Women have not have had to act "less masculine", or get beat up or killed for not being "feminine enough". Men were literally burned alive for being even slightly effeminate. The writer/director of this movie should have really done their research as to whom would truly be oppressed in the world they created and make a movie based on that. As it stands, all we got are some pretty girls, who had a tough time because they likes handsome boys instead of other pretty girls. Lazy filmmaking at its worst.
Call me when this same premise if revisited by a talented MAN, preferably one that is gay and understands the struggles men face daily living as they truly are. A woman will never understand the difficulties and struggles of living as a man within a society that harbors so many deep rooted, preconceived notions of what it truly means to be a man.
I Want To Claw My Fudging Eyes Out
I don't think I've ever seen a film this unequivocally hard to stomach in my life before, even worse than the 2004 race-bait film, "Crash." Simply referring to it as a feature film in and of itself is dubious. Really all it is, is an overwrought 2 hour length public service announcement designed as a circle jerk over the preconceived notions held by an increasingly petty breed of social activist who loves living in a bubble, hates having their views challenged, and would claim false victimhood in a world that in 2016, leans overwhelmingly in their favor, which makes it both grueling in running time and in subject matter.
It's clearly intended to be super edgy by challenging the way heterosexuals may look at "homophobia" by reversing the roles of oppressor/aggressor. All it reveals is an incredibly insulated concept of oppression held by its creators, one that relies on hyperbole, cliché, gross-out scenes, and everything caricatural surrounding bigotry that you can possibly think of, looking at the problem through an unrealistically magnified lens. It's as if they tried to cram an entire history of oppression into one little neighborhood, within the space of two hours.
Starting with the premise, a world that's completely homonormative where heterosexuals are oppressed and ostracized. As a concept, you could actually make something quite interesting out of that, but the problem is, we have to be given a REASON, and it has to make sense. This could have been a very developed sci-fi theme, or something of the sort, where humans are grown in test tubes, where there's an involved and developed backstory explaining how heterosexuality became redundant and was viewed as a force of antagonism. The problem is, the film makers had no interest in crafting a story with any sense or rationale to it. Literally all they seem to care about is propaganda.
The film is supposed to be an alternate universe that's always been homonormative and oppressive of heterosexuals since the time of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Julio," and us the audience, are supposed to take it for granted. As such, the film fails to address the real reasons behind bigotry, and instead presents homophobia as an either/or situation that can be easily flipflopped, when it can't. Let's really take a look at this though. Today, the average secular family has roughly 1.6 children. In a world that actively discourages heterosexual unions, calling them "breeders" as a pejorative, would such a world really be able to sustain its own population? More to the point, every single person alive would have to hate/despise their parents literally for giving birth to them. It's just dumb.
The film is pretty much one scene after another showcasing overt bigotry against heterosexuals, each scene more extreme than the last. That's ALL it is. The message is loud and clear. "Ha! You see what us homosexuals have to live with? Well now you know what it feels like, and doesn't that bother you tremendously?!" OK so they succeeded in bothering me. Touche, but not for the right reasons.
I'm bothered by how ridiculously tone deaf they are to the world they live in. Did anyone at my school get picked on or bullied for being gay, led alone beat up or murdered? NO. NONE. Literally never! At one point, within the wrong circle I made an offhand comment saying "I think two men having sex is disgusting," and for this comment I was ostracized, insulted, and shunned for the next little while until I formally revoked those words. That was the world almost 20 years ago. The world today is so overwhelmingly pro gay, that the over-the top scenes in this film are not even close to an accurate parallel AT ALL. In the city in which I live, all summer long people are flying rainbow flags from dawn to dusk, so I'm sorry to say, gays being oppressed in ANY societal context is not a reality I've ever known.
That being said, even in the fictional context here, it makes no sense. If heterosexuals in the film face so much hatred to the point of being beaten up, bullied, and killed, why are so many people "coming out of the closet," in the first place? The plot of the film is completely incoherent to the setting, for this reason. In such a society, EVERYONE would be in the closet. Likewise, the 50's were a "don't ask/don't tell" situation, and as a result you DIDN'T have a dramatic world of overt direct oppression/harassment like you do in this film.
The film is just SO over the top, SO self-indulgent that it reminds me of "Reefer Madness," but with one important difference: "Reefer Madness" is at least something we can all sit back and laugh at now. The film simply takes itself too seriously, and so do too many people who watched it, while it contains not a SINGLE hint of intentional humour or irony, despite the ridiculous plot elements. The scenes of bullying would be bad in ANY film, regardless of the subject, because of how clichéd and forced they are. Of course, because the film tackles the gay issue, it's presented with awards and accolades, but honestly, if this was a film that dealt simply with bullying, simple bullying, the majority of people would be canning it for the same reasons that I am.
I'm all for having the discussion about bigotry and oppression, and if that's what they wanted to do, it would have been a much more productive conversation if it was evoked through satire. Of course that's not what these filmmakers are about, not unity or mutual understanding, and certainly not about spreading love. The message they have is one of self-privilege. They're the type of people obsessed with getting attention and special interests by playing the victim card over and over again, and they get it by spreading misery and pain, the core elements of who they are, miserable, and self-absorbed, just like the characters in their story.