An infidelity-thriller with a lot of unfulfilled potential
The Danish crime drama Loving Adults on Netflix, originally called “Kaerlighed for voksne”, is centered on Anna Ekberg’s book “Krlighed For Voksne”. The movie tells the tale of Christian and Leonora, a pair who are shackled to a loveless union.
On the surface, they seem to have it all and lead ideal lives. This is especially true after their son recovers from a severe, prolonged illness. But when Leonora spots her partner at a party with his co-worker Xenia, some skeletons in the closet are brought to light.
Loving Adults, which is directed by Barbara Rothenborg, paints a very unsettling image of an unhappy marriage. It resembles “Gone Girl” in appearance, but it is nastier.
The couple attempts to mend their failing marriage in an unconventional way. Christian chooses to cheat on his partner Leonora, but she keeps him around by withholding information from his past – and her husband is motivated to kill her for doing so.
Christian attempts to kill Leonora but his plan backfires and his life takes a somewhat catastrophic turn. What happens next causes Leonora and Christian’s relationship to become even more deranged and diabolical. To rectify the situation after being pressurized by his wife Christian decides to commit yet another murder, which breeds yet another, leaving a rather horrifying chaos in its aftermath.
With masterful execution, Barbara Topse-Rothenborg and the writers give you the exact opposite of what you might expect from a typical love-crime drama. It expands on a compelling narrative in which the deceived spouse seeks protection by exerting pressure to prevent the cheating partner from leaving. You get something unsettling and intense to deal with when you add infatuation, manipulation, the emotional strains of parental responsibility, crime, and a gloomy relationship history from years ago.
The movie is certainly not for the weak of heart due to its macabre content. As the story of Christian and Leonora’s troubled marriage develops, audiences are certain to doubt their loyalties and pick sides.
The theme of running appears throughout the story. As Leonara dons her crimson windcheater and begins her runs, you can see the movie’s plot elements coming together. Christian’s first rash plan is born out of her obsession with long runs. Once the scandal is known, we observe that he is spontaneous and she is analytical, so they approach things quite differently. A visit to see Leonara’s best friend brings up old rumors. Something her friend says to Christian resonates with him. Leonara has a tendency to give something her everything or nothing. It encapsulates everything that he is up against.
Loving Adults’ storyline revolves around familiar themes of broken marriage and passion crimes that we frequently encounter in movies and tv shows. Despite a fascinating premise, Loving Adults’ storyline is somewhat unoriginal. It uses stereotypes such as the philandering husband and the crazy, bitter and twisted girlfriend far too frequently.
Additionally, it fails to acknowledge and portray emotional difficulties while addressing themes of separation and marriage. Instead, it opts for tacky drama. Furthermore, there is a pointless storyline about Leonora’s earlier years which is nothing but cliché.
The Netflix thriller’s literary storytelling style, which gives the film a novel-like feel despite its inconsistent narrator pace, is its only redeeming quality.
Although the production values are extremely high and the two central characters seem to be superior to the content, the story has the structural integrity of an amoeba. A twist right in the middle of the movie is unexpected and should ideally heighten the tension between the principal characters.
Conversely, no one is prepared to come out and make life challenging for the two protagonists. We are supposed to assume that the officers will logically believe the testimony of a couple who are associated with (or at least live close to) two crime scenes that occurred within a few weeks.
There are several narrative gaps in the movie, including a huge logical jump to believe a posh hotel doesn’t have surveillance cameras around the building, nor do the authorities have access to roadside monitoring systems. In fact, the investigators don’t even look into Christian’s financial holdings! This is only compounded further by the fact this ending is unbelievably frustrating.
Even though the plot is weak, the carefully constructed scenes and the outstanding performances by the key couple carry the movie forward. Overall, the performances are top-notch.
Despite being fascinating, Loving Adults’ plot ultimately falls flat. The story is certainly intriguing, but there are significant flaws in it that are hard to overlook. This is one thriller with a lot of unfulfilled potential. Despite its serious issues, Loving Adults is still entertaining to watch.
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Verdict - 6/10