Unlovable (2018) reviewed by Jonathan Berk

Unlovable (2018) is a film written by the lead actress, Charlene deGuzman, who took from her own experiences with sex and love addiction, and with co-writers Sarah Adina Smith and Mark Duplass plus director Suzi Yoonessi, shaped the heavy subject matter into a hopeful, funny film. It’s also refreshing to see a film about sex and love addiction from a female gaze, as deGuzman is not forced to be exploited as the film focuses on the impact it is having on her and not the explicit nature of the act itself. Really, it’s more focused on the recovery aspect, which is where the humor and the hope rise organically.

Unlovable is a film that defies its own name; I loved it!

Joy (deGuzman) lives with her boyfriend Ben (Paul James) until he’s tired of her cheating as a result of her addiction, which he claims to be a convenient excuse comparing it to his love of cereal. He says she needs help, so she seeks a support group where she meets Maddie (Melissa Leo). Maddie initially hesitates to sponsor Joy, but eventually offers her a small apartment outside of her Nana’s house where Joy will need to spend 30 days following a set of rules to help her begin the healing process. Joy meets Maddie’s brother, Jim (John Hawkes), who is Nana’s caretaker and full of his own quirks, and the two find common ground with the love of music.

I always feel compelled to point out a bias of mine, and, if you’ve been reading my reviews for a while you’ll probably have picked up on this – movies about people making music usually appeal to me. I have an extensive background in music, so films featuring people crafting their art usually works for me. There is no exception here. I love the development of their music in the film and the friendship that forms through it. Not to mention that I’m a true believer that music has healing properties, and I think this film demonstrates it to a great degree. In fact, Joy finds that she has to throw herself into a variety of art projects to help distract her from her actual addiction, and I think that is an important message coming out of this film. Our own destructive habits can be thwarted by finding healthy ways of expressing ourselves. Can you order Viagra and save money, here http://www.dresselstyn.com/site/buy-cheap-viagra-sildenafil-online/ the best offers for cheap Viagra 200 mg, 150 mg, 100 mg.

We see Joy hit rock bottom and truly struggle with the thirty days of rules Maddie lays out for her. Yet, deGuzman and Yoonessi manage to find humor in these moments without stripping away the film or the character’s humanity. For instance, there are some extremely creative scenes that deGuzman discussed during a Q&A after the film, including the conversation Jim and Joy have with their instruments. While it’s cute, funny, and innovative, the conversation they are having is serious and shows great growth from both Jim and Joy. The scene is just an example of a memorable one in a film full of them.

Final thoughts…

Unlovable is a film that could have been much harder to watch in the hands of a different director. However, it’s a film full of joy and hope despite the challenges Joy faces. The music, written by John Hawkes, is also great, and gets its place in the film both diegetically and non-diegetically, which demonstrates the great sound editing and mixing. Unlovable earns the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.


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