Relentlessly feel-good series will make you wince or wail
If you’re feeling low on good vibes, then boy, do we have the show for you. Stuffed with warm, fuzzy stories and cathartic moments, new Amazon comedy Modern Love is a romantic’s dream. There’s difficult breakups, will-they-won’t-they drama and a fair few fairytale endings in between. But in the end, the message is the same: true love will always win, even if it’s sometimes slightly nauseating.
Split up into equal-length episodes, Modern Love tells the story of eight separate relationships over a period of time. It’s based on the long-running New York Times column, a collection of first-person essays about love and relationships that’s the envy of the publishing world. Unsurprisingly, an anthology of such repute has attracted quite the starry cast-list. Dev Patel impresses as the lovesick CEO of a dating app, while Cristin Milioti (the titular mother in How I Met Your Mother) gets things off to a tear-stained start in episode one. About a doorman’s paternal affection for one of the residents who lives in his apartment block, ‘When the Doorman Is Your Main Man’ slowly builds a narrative of pain and rejection, before springing an emotional trap at the conclusion that will either make you wail (in a good way) or wince. Later, in episode three, ‘Take Me as I Am, Whoever I Am’, Anne Hathaway plays Lexi – a lawyer who battles to prevent her bipolar disorder from affecting daily life.
This is perhaps Modern Love‘s finest hour. The deft touch it displays in tackling such a sensitive issue, and the realistic way it portrays living with a mental health condition is commendable. Rarely has a mainstream romcom shown such sympathy to a struggling female character and not resorted to writing them off as ‘manic’ or ‘a nightmare’. The rest of Hollywood should take note.
Of course, everyone in Modern Love is impossibly attractive, which takes the shine off its achievements somewhat. To tell real-life stories, you must portray real-life people – and not everyone on Tinder has perfect teeth or sleek, glossy hair. To be honest, it’s actually the opposite. That doesn’t make their experiences any less valuable, however, so for the next series, how about casting some actors that aren’t young, fit and beautiful? We promise it won’t mean less people tune in.
For the most part though, Modern Love is an uplifting experience with more than enough ‘aww’ moments to keep you ploughing on through all eight episodes (hankie in hand). Obviously, it depends entirely on your predilection for a happy ending – and one suspects those who cringe at schmaltz will probably hate it. But if your heart still pumps and hasn’t turned to stone completely, Modern Love will give you hope in humanity again. Well, at least until the next depressing viral video invades your newsfeed.
Modern Love is streaming on Amazon Prime Video now