There’s truly nothing better to do in these cold, blustery nights than to curl up on the sofa and watch a good tale of tear-jerking romance. Love Life, a HBO series created by Sam Boyd, is the perfect binge watch, the perfect romcom, the perfect mix of tough life realisations, funny mishaps, overbearing mothers and glistening New York sky lines. But underneath the shell of attractive faces and fast-paced scenes of metropolitan modern art there is a gritty human interior.
The plot follows Darby Carter, played by Academy Award Nominee Anna Kendrick, and her variety of relationships and situations, from first loves and drunken kisses to one-night stands, crying in the middle of a mattress shop and getting drunk at her 40 year-old boyfriends wake. Now what makes it different from another run-of-the-mill romcom you can also find on BBC iPlayer? Each episode is one relationship, each in differing lengths, for a total of ten episodes. We get to see Darby, a twenty-something-year-old, try to navigate building a career, facing failure, falling in love, falling out of love. We as an audience get the pleasure of seeing Darby grow as a character. We get to watch her move away from situations that no longer benefit her, watch her be vulnerable and see her make mistakes. It was a pleasure to witness Anna Kendrick finally get a role that allowed her to show range and truly tell a story, and tell it well; as much as she was a likeable figure staring as a Blake lively sidekick or a rising acapella enthusiast.
The TV show, despite its accurate romantic depictions, remains light. With the occasional narration of the charming cinema and theatre legend Lesley Manville, the show goes from very real off the cuff dialogue between friends to swift summaries and critics of Darby’s choices and motives from this omniscient narrator, giving it a novel feel. Is it groundbreaking television? No. Is it perhaps an equal contender to some of HBO’s other recent heavy weights such as West World? I find that unlikely. However, in these current times, it made for the perfect bingeable weekend watch. It had enough normality to create some sense of home in a time when everywhere we look seems to be starkly different from what it was before. Yet there is also enough charming comedic writing and New York mystique to transport us, even for a little while, into a different life.
I give Love Life a solid 8/10 on the binge-o-meter.