Modern Love on Amazon Video intrigued me with its star-studded cast. Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, and Mad Men’s John Slattery got me psyched to see a dramatized version of New York Time’s romantic comedy column on withering and blossoming relationships. But the ultimate question still remains, are all 8 episodes worth watching? Find out here to see which ones are worth your time!
Plot summary: Modern Love is based on the reader-submitted stories column of the New York Times that explores love in its many forms including sexual, parental, and self-love.
Cast: Anne Hathaway as Lexi Donohoe, Tina Fey as Sarah, Andy García as Michael, Dev Patel as Joshua, Caitlin McGee as Emma, John Slattery as Dennis, Brandon Victor Dixon as Daniel, and Catherine Keener as Julie, Julia Garner as Madeline, Cristin Milioti as Maggie Mitchell, Olivia Cooke as Karla, Andrew Scott as Tobin, Brandon Kyle Goodman as Andy, Shea Whigham as Peter, Gary Carr as Jeff, Sofia Boutella as Yasmine, John Gallagher Jr. as Rob, Quincy Tyler Bernstine as Sylvia, Laurentiu Possa as Guzmin, Ed Sheeran as Mick, Jane Alexander as Margot, Peter Hermann as Philippe, James Saito as Kenji, and Judd Hirsch as Cop/Vendor/Taxi Driver
Written and Directed by John Carney
While the show has its touchy moments and periods of enlightenment, it falls flat on consistently delivering these throughout the entire series. Instead, the episodes we get in between these high points leave a dull and uninteresting taste on the palate, regardless of the amazing performances from industry-defining actors and actresses.
The best episodes to watch are episodes 1, 2, 3, 6, and 8.
Episode 1 entitled “When the Doorman Is Your Main Man” redefines the parental roles of a family, with the doorman of Maggie, Guzmin, becoming an unlikely father figure for her daughter. Guzmin keeps off troublesome heartbreakers, helps Maggie move the furniture, and watches over her daughter. And whenever things don’t work out with Maggie’s flings, Guzmin gives her a shoulder to cry on. In a way, it romanticizes the life of a single parent but also gives us, hermits, more reasons to open our doors.
The next episode entitled “When Cupid Is A Prying Journalist” takes a look at a magazine interview between a journalist and the founder of a dating app that rolled into a deep conversation about love and loss. Julie (the journalist) teaches young Joshua the value of taking chances by sailing the sea of uncertainty with the one you love. A lot of tragedies unfold in the episode as the two discuss the down points of their most tragic relationship. But in the end, it tries to save us from the real tragedy of not knowing how it could’ve been if our love was untested.
Anne Hathaway’s episode “Take Me As I am, Whoever I Am” explores the self-love of a bipolar entertainment lawyer. At first, she meets Jeff from the grocery store. The two have a fast and playful conversation that ends with both exchanging each other’s numbers and scheduling a date. We are then strapped into a series of song and dance followed by a depressive episode, then a happy sitcom intro of her life then back again. Her performance is excellent with her facial expressions convincingly shifting from happy to sad. This is one performance from her that you can’t miss.
“So He Looked Like Dad. It Was Just Dinner, Right?” centers on Madeline who is interested in Peter, an older colleague who somewhat embodies Madeline’s late father. Peter is an AI engineer and a single dad that gives Madeline a lot of care and attention. He takes her to the hospital when she’s involved in a car crash, he goes to her place to clean up the toilet and he takes her to Sea World. He adores the thought that he found another companion in his life and she adores the thought that she can feel like a daughter again with him—so she lets him be. But problems arise when Peter misunderstands the foundation of their relationship as he wants someone who can fulfill his emotional and sexual needs—Madeline just doesn’t seem to want him that way. This complex emotional undercurrent being explored in the series was interesting and is worth the watch.
Finally, we get to “The Race Grows Sweeter Near Its Final Lap.” Margot spends a lot of time running marathons in the park. One day she meets Saito, a fellow runner who falls in love with her. We see a montage of their love story that cuts back and forth between pre-funeral to post-funeral. It’s a sweet episode to see as we don’t get these types of relationships on screen. It makes you think about how painful it is to lose someone again at that age. But it also gives you hope at the end that if they can arise from their heartbreaks, we can too.
While I really wanted to recommend the one with Tina Fey and John Slattery, I simply couldn’t because of how lackluster it was. And while the last episode ties all the strings together albeit unsubstantially, it still doesn’t make much of a difference. If you don’t mind wasting 30 minutes of your valuable time for the weak episodes, then by all means go watch it. Just know that I warned you 😉
Modern Love Season 1 gets a 7/10