Although I was asked by the independent filmmaker Ben Rider to review his first feature film To Love Somebody, I do not think that what follows could be regarded as a critique, since my reflections will not only be simply subjective, but -at least in their essence- idiosyncratic. This outcome should be attributed not just to an inescapable personal perception, but mainly to the fact that while I was watching it, I was feeling more as being judged for my will to be in energetic position as an intellectual spectator than as being potentially able to criticize it as potential artistic attempt as well. It could not be a different experience for those who, like me, believe that if To Love Somebody deserves attention is rather due to what it refutes than what it is able to confirm. However, to refute/confirm to whom? Its spectator has to demonstrate a greater responsibility as the non-receiver of a refused confirmation than the one of its creator as the provider of an a priori disproval. So, Rider wanting to express his feelings, had also in his mind the effort to make the spectators feel too. If this was doomed as a prosecuted intention, this condemnation can only elucidate both the grandeur and the unworthiness of the human impasse. This is the reason why Rider’s actors look like marionettes on his hands: the heroes they impersonate are also marionettes on the hands of an ill-fated destiny. What is being suggested against this destiny is love, to love somebody, as much as Ben Rider loves cinema. Yet, the human condition can possibly be narrated only as a story of hyporcrisy. The synopsis of the film according to its press release was the following:
'Two couples, who have been close friends for years, face several life-altering traumas out of their control. Mike and Meryl are recovering from their son's death and their inability to communicate. Joanna and Tim are trying to conceive their first child, after several failed attempts. In the course of the film the couples contrast one another, quickly developing an intimate study of human nature'.
It is indeed through an illustration of the possible meaning of a failure that the film succeeds not as much as a study on human nature, but rather as a study on the nature of the cinematic art itself. Of course, a value that insists οn its indefinability betrays either the significance of its hypostasis or the insignificant anxiety at least of the object of its attachment... Overall, To Love Somebody stands defenceless in its potentially ambiguous interpretation as it should, and what is to be expected in the future is not a contingent vindication by the later work of its director since his first feature film is already a kind of artistic verdict and thus a challenge for the daring spectator to be both its martyr and juror.