I think it’s fair to say that Love Possibly is unlike any romantic comedy you’ve ever seen before. It has heart, and soul in abundance. While the cast are all relatively unknown, and the budget was tiny, you wouldn’t believe it – the acting is exceptional, and the film looks terrific.
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I’m not a massive romantic comedy fan – I tolerate the genre. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll happily watch them, but they don’t appeal to me. When I was invited to see Love Possibly, I was expecting a reasonably enjoyable romp. As I was offered the chance to interview the leading lady, Anna Danshina, I had to do a bit of research beforehand, and Love Possibly had already got under my skin before I sat and watched it. Let me explain…
A shoestring budget but so much heart
Love Possibly hasn’t been made by a massive studio, and it didn’t have an enormous budget – it was partly funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign. It was filmed two years ago and has spent the last few years being edited and crafted into the finished product. Love Possibly has been shot in a Mockumentary style.
The Directors, Michael Boccalini and Che Grant, have taken strands of The Office, Spinal Tap and Torsk på Tallinn and crafted a Rom-Com like no other. It’s been shown at film festivals around the world including Raindance, Catalina and the Moscow Indie Film Festival and has picked up a bevvy of awards too. From watching the trailer, I had a fair idea that I’d enjoy the film – I wasn’t wrong.
Love Possibly tells the story of Alex Clough played beautifully by Steve Hodgetts. Alex isn’t your average romantic lead. He’s crippled with social anxiety and has an unhealthy obsession with rom-coms. Alex is desperate to find love, and the ‘documentary’ is following his quest for it. After a lot of failed attempts, Alex finds a ‘mail order’ bride, Lana Marusheva (Anna Danshina). After a few weeks of speaking online and on the phone (with his neighbour Natalie translating for him), Alex rushes over to Moldova to meet Lana, and proposes on their first date. Needless to say this whirlwind romance isn’t like you’d see in the movies. However, Alex has watched enough rom-coms to know that the path to true love isn’t always smooth.
The mockumentary style works very well, it feels like a bit like a feature-length version of ‘The Undateables’. Although there are some poignant moments, it is VERY VERY funny. Steve Hodgetts is compelling as his character, his anxiety, neurosis and awkwardness are VERY convincing. Steve spoke briefly after the screening, and I was shocked at how different he is to Alex, despite Love Possibly being his first feature, his talent is spellbinding. You feel invested in Alex, even from the opening scenes, You want him to be happy, and find love – the audience were rooting for him from the get-go.
While we’re talking about class acting, his ‘love interest’ in Anna Danshina is amazing too. In her early scenes, she doesn’t say much at all, however, her expressions and reactions are just incredible. Despite seeming like a hard-nosed eastern European woman, her monologues to the ‘crew’ are often heart-breaking and occasionally funny. You get a real feeling of depth to her character above and beyond how she presents herself.
I love the style of the film too – some scenes rush with funny scenes coming thick and fast. Other scenes the camera lingers on the action a bit TOO long, to the point where you can feel your insides shrivelling up with ‘cringe’. You want the scene to end because it’s almost unbearably awkward – but often it’s rewarded with a killer ‘punchline’. The scene where he is standing with Lana’s mother is a great example. It feels like you’re watching real people and not actors – I spent large portions of the time feeling like I was watching a documentary.
I think it’s fair to say that Love Possibly is unlike any romantic comedy you’ve ever seen before. It has heart, and soul in abundance. While the cast are all relatively unknown, and the budget was tiny, you wouldn’t believe it – the acting is exceptional, and the film looks terrific. Michael Boccalini and Che Grant have put together something that is truly special – it is a cornerstone of British filmmaking. It’s not a saccharin sweet Richard Curtis film; it’s not a glossy Jeniffer Aniston rom-com – it’s something so much more. I genuinely can’t think of a movie like it, it’s utterly compelling and deserves all the awards it’s collecting.
It’s due for release next year, and I’m hoping it finds its way into a wider audience. I feel fortunate to have seen it, and I can’t wait for everyone to get the chance to enjoy it. There’s so much mileage in the story of Alex and Lana, and I hope it’s not the last we see of them. Whatever you do, please see Love Possibly – it is nothing short of incredible.
After the screening, I had the chance to interview Anna Danshina about the film and her role, and I’ll post that very soon!
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Review - Love Possibly - Kip Hakes