Amazon Studios’ ‘Modern Love’ has been a popular hit among most viewers. However, the show has not been able to resist the lure of portraying pop culture romance that sells easily.
The stories featured in Amazon Studios‘ ‘Modern Love’ are based on real-life accounts published in the “New York Times” column of the same name. While the show takes inspiration from the column, ‘Modern Love’ also twists these real-life stories to make them more audience-friendly and, in a way, heavily misleading.
- How ‘Modern Love’ is misleading
- Why ‘Modern Love’ is not really ‘modern’
CREATIVE LIBERTIES IN ‘MODERN LOVE’
‘Modern Love’ Season 2 has not performed as brilliantly as its predecessor. The stories feel extremely didactic, as they tell more and show less. Despite the lukewarm response to the show, episode 3 titled ‘Strangers on a (Dublin) Train’ featuring Kit Harington and Lucy Boynton has welcomed a higher ranking than its counterparts.
This episode is based on an essay called ‘Instant Crush’ submitted to the “New York Times” by a Spanish product developer Cecilia Pesao. Her story and its portrayal in the show has many similarities but ‘Modern Love’ ultimately turns the woman’s story into a fairytale without respecting what really happened and presents its viewers with a lie.
Daniel Jones, the editor of the Modern Love column at the “New York Times” has also expressed that the show takes “creative liberties” with personal essays. Jones also mentioned,
“One way that this series is different from other scripted television shows is that these are real lives and there’s a lack of polish I guess to those lives or unexpected endings or different ways that love is represented than you would dream up in a Hollywood writers room”.
Although Jones readily promises that the show lacks “polish” and the hackneyed romance tropes in a “Hollywood writers room”, ‘Strangers on a (Dublin) Train’ proves why ‘Modern Love’ is not at all different from the inaccurate depiction of love pervasive in Hollywood.
NOT SO MODERN LOVE
The premise of Cecilia Pesao’s story is nothing less than a Hollywood movie. She met a stranger on a train and struck a feel-good romance with him, just like in Richard Linklater’s ‘Before Sunrise’. And similar to Linklater’s classic, the duo vowed to not exchange contact details and meet one month later on the same train route.
Although this exercise seemed romantic at the time, the duo could not anticipate that a lockdown due to the pandemic awaited them. The two never met again.
But ‘Modern Love’ twists this real-life story and turns it into a fairy tale wherein the man is able to track the woman down and they are able to be together. This is far from what happened to Pesao.
Although her love interest was able to find her on Twitter since he recollected her last name, the two talked for a couple of weeks online before finally drifting apart. The man started dating someone else and that was the end of it. Pesao recollects that she has never even told him that the show took inspiration from their story.
Why did ‘Modern Love’ feel the need to modify her story? If it is indeed a show that aims to break the conventions of romance in Hollywood, it could have portrayed Pesao’s love story for what it was: it was good while it lasted.
Not all romance is lucky to get a happy ending. The notion that mass media still feels the necessity to give closure to romance speaks of the chasm between the reel and real life. While it is easy to give love a comfortable closure on screen, in our real lives things are less digestible but real, nonetheless.
Is Amazon’s ‘Modern Love’ really modern if it is still pandering to age-old notions of romance and not its ever-shifting dynamics in the present? Is it necessary to twist real-life stories anymore like ‘Modern love’ does?
What do you think of ‘Modern Love’ Season 2? Comment below!