Love is Not Love (USA, 2021)

A man finds himself town between finding love with a younger woman and rekindling his relationship with his ex-wife in this directorial debut of Stephen Keep Mills.

It’s the middle of December in the Big Apple, New York City. With Christmas and the New Year coming, people around the city are looking for love. It is hard for many, so they consider it a myth and they look to chase that myth in hopes to achieve that dream. One such chaser is Frank, an elder man who has gone through a major divorce. When he meets Reyna, a woman younger than him, they hit it off instantly.

However, despite his newfound love for Reyna, something within Frank keeps drawing him back to his ex-wife Paula. While Paula still has love for Frank at the same time, something isn’t right. Frank slowly realizes that Paula is somewhat too controlling. Frank finds himself conflicted between his new love for Reyna and his former love Paula. Who will Frank choose and what does fate have in store for whom he chooses?

This film is extremely weird in its execution. Shot entire in black-and-white, the film marks the feature film directorial debut of Stephen Keep Mills, a veteran television actor who has worked since the 1970s. After two short films, Mills directs this film completely in black and white and meshes a crazy love triangle mixed with mythological inspired scenes revolving around the topic of love and its boundaries. At times, the film has interchangeable scenes from the central narrative of our love triangle with scenes with characters inspired by classics and modern day takes of love with the classic Tristan and Isolde a heavy inspiration.

Mills himself takes the central role of the aging Frank, who finds himself dealing with the aftermath of a divorce who finds himself spending time with a new woman, Reyna. As Reyna, Alejandra Gollas makes the most of her time in the role. Frank finds himself somewhat falling for her, but eventually it all falls apart because well, Reyna is not who she may be seen to be believed and this can put a damper on things. But that’s not the half of it.

It is as if Frank can’t ever make his ex-wife happy. He tries to win her back, but she constantly berates him for the littlest things. Even when he tries to get her things she likes, she still makes an excuse to go off on him. The major issue is that the chemistry between Mills and co-star Louise Martin seems to be bland compared to his chemistry with Gollas. In addition, the interchangeable scenes seem to act more of a distraction because perhaps they are consistent. If the film was split into chapters, and these myth-inspired scenes were used as bookmarks in terms of chapters, it would come out better.

Love is Not Love is a good attempt, but the execution seems to fall flat especially in the second half of the film. However, Stephen Keep Mills made a valiant effort.

WFG RATING: C

Random Media presents a Triskelion Entertainment production. Director: Stephen Keep Mills. Producer: Stephen Keep Mills. Writer: Stephen Keep Mills. Cinematography: Steven Michael Fadellin. Editing: Karen Glienke.

Cast: Stephen Keep Mills, Louise Martin, Alejandra Gollas, Tonya Cornelisse, Russell Simpson, Cameron Tagge, Cathy Shim, Alberto Zeni, Jeff Sable, Sharon Powers.

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