Roush Review: ‘Modern Love’ Is Perfectly Cast, Irresistible Confection
If love were easy, would there be so many movies, books, songs and sonnets written on the subject? No matter where you fall on the romantic spectrum, this entrancing eight-episode anthology is likely to warm, break, tickle or lift your heart — sometimes all at once.
Based on the New York Times column of personal essays about relationships of all sorts, Modern Love is an irresistible confection of perfectly cast, sensitively written and utterly enjoyable short stories that belie their brevity with deep emotion.
The star power in these intensely urban fables can be dazzling, most notably Anne Hathaway‘s wrenching tour de force as a bipolar lawyer whose delirious flights of madcap fancy are followed by inconsolable wallows in dark depression. Could such a troubled soul find anyone who accepts her as she is?
In another poignant chapter, written and directed by Catastrophe‘s Sharon Horgan, Tina Fey and Mad Men‘s John Slattery shine as a couple in a painfully stagnant and soured marriage who find common ground on, of all places, a mid-Manhattan tennis court.
Such on-the-rise talents as Ozark Emmy winner Julia Garner and Andrew Scott (Fleabag‘s “hot priest”) also score in their quirky slices of life. Garner charms as a young professional with extreme daddy issues, which can be amusing until it gets serious. And Scott’s intensity is well suited as an uptight gay man whose path to parenthood takes a turn when he and his partner (Brandon Kyle Goodman) arrange to adopt from a free-spirited homeless wanderer (Olivia Cooke).
One of the most moving tales is actually platonic, depicting the bond between a single woman (How I Met Your Mother‘s Cristin Milioti) and the devoted doorman (Laurentiu Possa) who keeps a close and caring eye on her every movement and entanglement. Why this particular episode had me in tears I can’t say. Just one of the many mysteries of love.
While you can watch most of these episodes in any order, be sure and save the eighth, “The Race Grows Sweeter Near Its Final Lap,” for last. Jane Alexander is magnificent as a woman who finds romance late in life and reflects, “Young love, even for old people, can be surprisingly bountiful.”
A euphoric coda brings the entire series into perspective in a shimmering collage of a city teeming with love stories to be shared and savored.
Modern Love, Series Premiere Friday, Oct. 18, Amazon Prime Video