The Russians seem to love tragedy. Have you ever seen a Chekhov play turned into a happy musical? Sadness! Doom! Misery! There’s plenty of all that in this dreary film out of Moscow. Still, somebody must have thought highly of Loveless because it was nominated as Best Foreign Language Film at the recent Academy Awards®. Go figure.
Zhenya (Mariana Spivak/Vasily Stalin) and Boris (Alexsey Rozin/Leviathan) are in the final throes of getting a divorce. They still live together in the same cramped Soviet-style apartment that appears to be falling apart as much as their marriage. They hate each other, but are merely waiting to separate when the apartment sells to another couple.
We loathe the mistreatment of children, and Loveless has it in spades. Both Zhenya and Boris fight over the custody of their sweet little 12 year-old son Alyosha (newcomer Matvey Novikov). Neither seems to want to care for him. Poor Alyosha! He can hear all his parents’ squabbles over him. His heart is broken, and so will yours be, when he hears them fighting. He cries, he agonizes over his fate. Your heart will be torn out if you have any feelings for vulnerable children and think about how dependent they are on their parents. When Alyosha thinks about being abandoned, he disappears from the apartment.
Zhenya and Boris are completely oblivious about Alyosha’s disappearance for more than two days. That’s how much they care. When they finally wake up to the fact that he is gone, they panic and set out on a search for him in the surrounding woods. The police get involved. They even interview Alyosha’s best pal to find out where he might be hiding. Will they ever find him or has he met some horrible fate in the deep dark woods?
This film is depressing and heart-wrenching. When you leave the theatre you will want to slash your wrists.
(Released by Sony Pictures Classics; rated “R” for strong sexuality, graphic nudity, language and a brief disturbing image.)
For more information about Loveless, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.