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Love Me - 2012

Love Me could very well be mistaken for something like the umpteen teenage movies to hit the screens, except that this one is nothing like any of those for the sole reason that it doesn’t try too hard to make the characters lovable like most such movies with similar subjects try to enforce upon the audience. Here, the characters play out the feelings that any adolescent might be going through while progressing through that discerning and trying phase of their lives, add to that the plotline of three months having passed since the disappearance of Melissa Kennedy in the town of Ridgedale where the suave, silent and sweet Lucas Green (Jamie Johnston) is the lead suspect in her vanishing. Whilst we are being familiarised with the soft and dashing Lucas, enters the strong and nearly mannish Sylvia Potter (Lindsey Shaw) who, if not anything, harbours unrealistic notions of falling in love with an ‘ideal man’ even as she brushes away the overtures of her childhood friend Harry Townsend (Jean-Luc Bilodeau) who keeps renewing his love for her with regularity. Sylvia stumbles over Lucas’s stretched-out feet at Hampton Prep and feels this instant connection with him. Despite her initial animosity for the guy and warning by her close friends, in particular Dayln (Kaitlyn Leeb) she falls hopelessly in love with him until the mystery surrounding Melissa who was Lucas’s girlfriend when she went missing threatens the entire fabric and tests the waters with these school kids.  

As it trudges along, the lesson that this movie teaches us is about how many times have we not had people who are genuine get mistaken for being ‘arseholes’ when the real arseholes are the ones who go about injuring us invisibly and yet we aren’t smart enough to detect who they are amidst us until it is a bit too late.

Psychology brings to light that when someone intends to lie, consciously or unconsciously, the worded expressions they instinctively take refuge in are ‘trust me’ or ‘frankly’ or ‘believe me’ but when Lucas utters those words ‘trust me’ you are instantly overcome by the emotion that you can blindly trust him since those are not words stemming from the hidden untruths one is trying to cloak, but expressions that are most humbly originating from his soul. What’s more, his dialogues are nearly always supported by the blatant truth: it is as if what’s in his heart is on his lips without any hesitation, and isn’t that how we are all supposed to live – believing in ourselves when we know that we are right, even if the world were to think contrary of it?

People say that pain evokes in us the words that touch hearts, and it is also a presumed norm that the mega rich do not have a heart. What people don’t know is that feelings have nothing to do with ones financial touchstones and Lucas’s character is so well essayed in conjunction to that misconception. I was delighted to watch Jamie: the perfect choice for the role. He doesn’t fail to impress you with the genuine hues he lends to the character. Those hues come from his own experiences owing to the fact that he is quite the rock to those who require his attention in order to make their lives better. I say so because Jamie is someone who besides being an actor, has a natural flair to spread love via his work and is quite the man with a golden heart. He plays in a band, and has helped raise money for a school in Kenya, and it would not surprise me that while we are reading this, he might be planning or even doing something in his own capacity to better this world.

If you have observed closely, what Lucas does at every instant on the screen is confess nothing but the facts to Sylvia, and I didn’t quite appreciate how she distrusts him. In one frame of mind, she gives Harry a piece of her mind about how they could try and understand him rather than judge or talk about him, and in another, she falls a victim of hearsay. Agreed the young are unsure and confused, but the golden rule regardless of age is that you ‘never give up’ on the ones you think you know. True love knows to discern between the real and the fake, and instead of standing by him in a moment of her uncertainty, she fails him rather miserably.

Loneliness makes people do many things. While some take the crutch of addiction to beat their desolation, some become the crutch of others to make sure they never let another feel what they are missing. What I adored is how the character of Lucas has been made to be like the ocean, forgiving and yet festive. Forbearing yet frightened. I appreciated the manner in which he follows his heart (in attaining the peace of mind) by doing what he likes even if it is as simple as writing reviews of the music he loves. That apart, there were some beautiful refinements to this film, for instance when Sylvia asks Lucas what his dad does while she’s exploring about his bedroom, he replies with immense modesty, “He travels a lot.” That is a marvellously delicate method of handling an instance that one normally would use to brag or boast being in the position that he is in the film. It only shows us the maturity of the character regardless of what people surmise of him. It takes wisdom to be able to find peace in oneself, to be able to seek solace in loneliness, and what a brilliant man this Lucas is really. Some have argued with me that his character is a bit too forgiving, but aren’t there many amidst us who are like that: who harbour feelings much deeper, while the majority thinks them to be shallow. The other subtlety I treasured, and many of the teens ought to take heed, is how Lucas doesn’t pursue Sylvia until he has made certain that she and her friend Danny do not share any romantic interest. This might sound a bit trivial to the age that thinks they know everything, but that is a great on-screen display of manners and I only wish the youth, specifically men, could nurture such an attribute in case their innate nature hasn’t genetically yielded them this very quality.

The three glaring flaws I found in this film are:

1 – How Lucas tends to always show up at Sylvia’s classroom. Obviously he had classes of his own to attend.

2 – How the super attentive comic book killer friend Harry cannot hear the car approaching the driveway of the cabin when he is forcibly making Lucas write his suicide note. For a moment one could give him the benefit of doubt that he was a bit too self-absorbed to notice what was happening around him, and yet that explanation holds no good really.

3 – Coming to the largest cavern: the female lead’s character could have been essayed better. It seemed as if writer Kat Chandler was in a bit of a hurry given that her characterisation lacked any range and depth.

When someone turns to you in life and expresses, “You know me better than anyone!” and pleads, “Please, please I am losing it, everything seems to messed up. I don’t have anyone.” you NEVER leave them and walk away by uttering coldly, “I can’t be a part of this.” When somebody reaches out to you earnestly and you fail them, you certainly don’t deserve a second chance, but Lucas being Lucas, forgives even that flaw in the character of the woman he loves, although in reality only a handful are like him, and beware people that not all Sylvia’s would be lucky to get a chance to make up for their stupidity.

The supporting cast was satisfactory in their own unique fashion that added the much warranted flavour to the tale. I only wish that specialists had handled the cinematography and the soundtrack in order to lent it the much necessitated charm and enchantment.

To sum up, the kernel of life is such that each of us gets someone who cares for us in some form or the other, and in an instance of that not happening, we find solace in ourselves by giving to others what we have missed in our lives just like Lucas does. A bow to you, Jamie, to having added verve to such an unpretentious and yet profoundly balanced character because what you have done really is service to mankind since those who follow you ardently will try to mimic your good nature and even if it were to change the outlook of a single person, on screen, or otherwise, I think you would consider it a job well done!