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Film / Love (2015)

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Love is a 2015 French erotic drama film directed, written and co-edited by Gaspar Noé.

The film centers around American amateur filmmaker Murphy (Karl Glusman) and his loveless relationship with a woman named Omi (Klara Kristin). When Murphy receives a call that his drug-using ex, Electra (Aomi Muyack), has been missing for weeks, he spends the rest of the day reflecting on his relationship with her, and the infidelity with Omi that brought forth his first child.

The film was Noé's first film to be released in 3D, and featured many actual, unchoreographed sexual acts between its three leads.


This film provides examples of:

  • All Men Are Perverts: Noé claimed that during casting, every male friend of his offered to be the lead role, even going as far as to show Noé their dicks, hoping that would help them get the job.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The main driving force of the film is established early on: Electra is missing, and her predicament is unknown. Come the end, we still don't know what happened to her.
  • Anachronic Order: The entirety of the story is told in flashbacks, which jump progressively backwards, with some skips in between.
  • Broken Bird: Electra, after Oscar admits his infidelity with Omi to her.
  • But We Used a Condom!: Marcus impregnates Omi as a result of the condom he used breaking when they have sex.
  • Call-Back: To each of Noé's movies.
    • In Murphy's "private corner":
      • He hides the drugs Electra gave him, along with photos of her, in a VHS copy of I Stand Alone.
      • The oversized lightbulb lamp appeared in Irréversible.
      • A model of the Love Hotel from Enter the Void is visible on the right wall.
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    • The film, at one point, briefly reuses/replicates a shot of sex from the POV of a vagina originally used near the end of Enter the Void.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Marcus accidentally impregnates Omi in the one time he opts to cheat on Electra with her.
  • Censor Steam: Averted, even in the swinger's club.
  • Color Motifs: Noe regularly uses warm colors—mainly red—in love-based scenes to visually evoke the characters' passion.
  • Country Matters: Murphy calls Electra one after finding out that she also cheated with someone — right after he himself had sex with a woman during a party.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Noé cast himself as the art gallery owner (with the gallery called the Noé Institute).
      • Electra also suggests the name Gaspar when she's asked by Murphy what she would name a child — a name that Murphy eventually convinces Omi to name their child.
    • Benoît Debie — Noé's frequent cinematographer of choice — appears as a hippie-like leader name Yayo who specializes in a psychedelic practice.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Murphy hits it by the end, breaking down sobbing in his bathtub while holding his son.
  • Double Standard: Apparently it's okay for Murphy to cheat on Electra, but not okay for her to cheat on him. His flimsy justification? "Dicks have only one purpose: to fuck."
  • The End: A title card reading 'THE END' comes on screen right after Murphy, sitting in his bathtub holding his son and imagining Electra, thinks: "I will love you until the end". Quite what this means, or if it's just a joke by Noé, is up for interpretation.
  • Epileptic Flashing Lights: Though Noé loves these, it is only near the end of the film that this trope shows up.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: The film features an intense amount of heterosexual sex, as well as a threesome and homosexual kissing/oral sex.
  • Fan Disservice: The swingers' club scene features shots of paunchy, middle-aged French men.
  • Flash Back: Almost the entire movie is told in flashback.
  • Flashback Cut: The film elegantly matches different flashbacks together, such as Murphy receiving the call that Electra is missing from her mother with Murphy phoning his and Electra's drug dealer right after the breakup.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It becomes clear very quickly that Electra became more and more consumed with drugs and suicidal thoughts, especially after she broke it off with Murphy. In the present day of the film, she has been missing for weeks, and is possibly dead.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Murphy becomes visibly excited at the idea of having a threesome with two women.
  • Good Bad Girl: Electra. Even as she starts using drugs more and more prominently, she becomes the most sympathetic person.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Omi thinks so, since her mother wanted to abort her.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Murphy. Even though he says he still loves Electra, he describes living with a woman as "being in prison" simply because he has to share his life, and in his mind is very cruel to Omi for not being who he wants. It also becomes clear that he only actually loves Electra when she's being exactly how he wants her to be.
  • Hypocrite: Murphy becomes verbally abusive once he finds out that Electra cheated on him, but apparently he is perfectly okay with having sex with another woman behind Electra's back while they're at the same party.
  • Improv: Not only was much of the romantic dialogue between characters improvised, but a good chunk of the sex was unchoreographed as well.
  • Inner Monologue: Murphy does voiceovers for most of the film, allowing the audience to get a window into his thoughts that he rarely gives to those around him.
  • Kick the Dog: Murphy screams at Electra in the back of a cab after both come clean about their cheating, with his most vicious barb being, "You will never mother a child because you are a worthless cunt."
  • Lame Comeback: After Omi teases Murphy for getting fat:
    Murphy (via Inner Monologue): Yeah, I'm fat. My dick is fat.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Murphy, the amateur film maker, asks aloud at one point, "My biggest dream is to make a movie that truly depicts sentimental sexuality… Why haven’t we seen this in cinema?"
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Plenty from Murphy, thanks to Karl Glusman and his "strong dick", as Noé put it.
  • Match Cut: Several, as Murphy connects his feelings to his memories. The film employs 12 frames of black between these moments, as a method of communicating the approximate amount of time between thinking a thought, and realizing and understanding that thought.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Both the female leads are attractive young women who are repeatedly shown while having actual, very explicit sex with the male lead at length.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Murphy's toxic, vindictive reaction to finding out that Electra cheated on him.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Murphy realizes that he is "only good at fucking things up" when he cheated on Electra by having a baby with Omi, but he never admits this outside of his own head, nor does he really do anything about it.
  • Never My Fault: Murphy takes zero responsibility and has zero regret for smashing a glass bottle over Noe's head, saying that he did it in defense of Electra and Noe was a despicable person who deserved it, also using the rationale that the French haven't won a war in almost 100 years while Americans fight for what they believe in.
  • No Ending: The film simply stops when Murphy finally breaks down crying in the tub, holding his child. The film holds on his final thought — Murphy and Electra holding each other in the same manner, in the same tub — while the end credits roll overtop of them.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Several brief shots early in the film are re-contextualized at some point later in the film with provided info on what happened prior to the shot.
  • The Oner: The film opens with Murphy and Electra masturbating each other to completion.
  • Paddleball Shot: Played with (no pun intended) in a fashion only Noe could do; the film notably makes good use of its 3D with a close-up shot of Marcus' penis being masturbated, resulting in him copiously ejaculating towards the camera.
  • Patriotic Fervor: A very strange example occurs when a thoroughly drunk Murphy justifies his equally drunk assault on Noe by claiming that Americans instinctively fight for what they believe in, while the French haven't won a war since 1918.
  • R-Rated Opening: The film's opening shot is of a fully naked man and woman masturbating each other.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: Marcus got Omi pregnant accidentally when he'd cheated on Electra with her. They end up having a baby boy.
  • Threeway Sex: There's a very lengthy, explicit threesome as Marcus, Omi and Electra all have sex together.
  • Visual Pun: The final line of the film is Murphy saying, "I will love you until the end". Within two seconds, the words "THE END" fill the screen.
  • Walk and Talk: Several scenes between Murphy and Electra are this, especially in the final flashbacks which show how they met and fell in love with each other.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: While the film seems like it's going to have Murphy go out and try to find Electra, he never does. Electra's fate is never explained, but only implied that she has run off and possibly committed suicide or overdosed on drugs.