Monday, July 15, 2024

“LOVE ME”

THE STORY – A post-apocalyptic romance in which a buoy and a satellite meet online and fall in love after the end of human civilization.

THE CAST – Kristen Stewart & Steven Yeun

THE TEAM – Sam Zuchero & Andy Zuchero (Directors/Writers)

THE RUNNING TIME – 92 Minutes


Kristen Stewart and Steven Yeun are perfect representations of the modern movie star. They choose projects carefully, have received significant praise and an Oscar nomination each, and cinephiles actively look forward to their next films. “Love Me” pairs both major talents together, and, best of all, they’re the film’s only characters. The idea of seeing Stewart and Yeun carry a movie entirely on their shoulders may sound enticing. Still, unfortunately, the film they’re supporting doesn’t live up to their exceptional abilities.

The film opens with a stunning sequence showcasing the birth and lifespan of the planet Earth before a presumptive nuclear event triggers the end of all life forms in the not-so-distant future. This accelerated presentation of the Earth’s past and potential future is quietly powerful. Notably, with all their noise and destruction, humans only show up briefly towards the end, highlighting just how small our existence really is.

After this incredible opening, we meet the few intelligent beings left, although said intelligence is decidedly artificial. The unlikely mechanical pair is an intelligent buoy left floating off the coast of Manhattan and a satellite orbiting the Earth, left behind as something of a virtual tombstone for the human race. The buoy is first voiced, then physically embodied, by Stewart, while Yeun portrays the satellite. Without giving away too many details, let’s just say it’s not long before we see the two stars rather than just hearing their voices, but they’re brought to life in unexpected ways. Most notably, they also portray a pair of influencer vloggers who stage, curate and play out scenes of faux-authentic “couples goals” for their now-extinct subscribers.

Stewart and Yeun both carry the film expertly, but they’re doing all the work for the film’s quality that the screenplay isn’t. While the film’s set-up is clever and original, the actual substance of the script is shockingly cliché and, at times, wildly simplistic. Once the satellite and buoy’s dynamic is established, the film becomes a stretched-out probe into basic existentialism. It’s easy to see each character’s self-realizations or discoveries coming long before they reach them. And so much of their dialogue is purposefully repetitive, given the film’s structure. But their observations are portrayed as revelatory and pretty shallow to anyone who’s, say, just skimmed Nietzsche’s Wikipedia page.

Luckily, the two actors are able to fill in the gaps that the screenplay leaves out, for the most part. Stewart is fantastic. She’s an actress who already feels like she delivers every line with layers of potent meaning, which helps to bring the reflective character to life. The buoy frequently repeats itself as it delves deeper and deeper into the aspects of human life that it wishes to understand and mimic, for which Stewart is well-equipped. At times, it almost feels like we’re witnessing her practicing her lines using various acting exercises, finding new dimensions and interpretations for each line. Yeun is a similarly intelligent actor who spends a portion of the film alone, going through various, often ridiculous actions. He has a natural vibrancy that allows the audience to trust him, which helps keep the more bizarre things he has to do from straying over into the realm of unintentionally funny or absurd.

Technically, the film is well-executed. The piano-heavy score by David Longstreth is beautiful, evoking the feeling of serene space travel through the shifting cosmos, which is a welcome contrast to the apocalyptic themes and images that the movie features. And the actual robots themselves are impressively realized, especially the smart buoy. It believably looks like a prototype of something NASA would build. Some of the CGI animation used to turn Yeun and Stewart into digital avatars isn’t as polished, but that’s excusable given the themes of artificiality in relation to humanity.

“Love Me” feels almost unfinished on a screenwriting level but is watchable, thanks entirely to the efforts of the two actors who occupy the screen. And nowadays, any excuse to watch movie stars do their job well may alone make a movie worthy of recommendation.

THE RECAP

THE GOOD - Kristen Stewart and Steven Yeun's movie star magnetism and acting gifts make the movie worth watching if nothing else.

THE BAD - The screenplay is shockingly simplistic, relying on platitudes and shallow observations about humanity and mortality.

THE OSCAR PROSPECTS - None

THE FINAL SCORE - 5/10

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!

Previous article
Next article
Cody Dericks
Cody Dericks
Actor, awards & musical theatre buff. Co-host of the horror film podcast Halloweeners.

Related Articles

Stay Connected

101,150FollowersFollow
101,150FollowersFollow
9,315FansLike
9,315FansLike
4,686FollowersFollow
4,686FollowersFollow

Latest Reviews

<b>THE GOOD - </b>Kristen Stewart and Steven Yeun's movie star magnetism and acting gifts make the movie worth watching if nothing else.<br><br> <b>THE BAD - </b>The screenplay is shockingly simplistic, relying on platitudes and shallow observations about humanity and mortality.<br><br> <b>THE OSCAR PROSPECTS - </b>None<br><br> <b>THE FINAL SCORE - </b>5/10<br><br>"LOVE ME"