The ambitious project from Kim Longinotto, Love is All is a strange compendium of a century of romance, love and courtship, but more than anything, it’s a montage of film clips from feature films, documentaries and public information films that were taken entirely from the last century, all held together by a soundtrack from Richard Hawley. It explores love in all its forms across the most turbulent decades, including the very first kiss captured on film, the trials and tribulations love and how it impacts families, and the free love and gay liberation.
As the film goes, and as we listen to Hawley’s beautiful accompaniment, we are taken through what feels like a dizzying montage of archive surprises and delights, which include the comedic innocence of A Kiss in the Tunnel (1899), the manic energy of Piccadilly (1929), Don’t Be Like Brenda (1973) with its cautionary tale story, and charming cross-cultural fun of My Beautiful Laundrette (1985). During the course of these clips, you see a kaleidoscopic change of attitudes and moods towards the concepts of race, gender, sexuality and multi-culturalism, all handled in an ambitious and natural manner.
This is the kind of film that will struggle to find an audience and some people might lose patience with it, but as it stands, the film is ultimately charming in its own right. On the one hand, it has an underlying political thread about the way in which social attitudes have changed over the course of the twentieth century, yet it also cleverly shows how love has also changed with the times. The film takes all these footage pieces from what is an extraordinary archive and puts them together in a way that finds interesting connections between them, despite the fact that some is from cinema whilst others are from public information films.
Love is All is like watching a living, breathing personal poem about the changing nature of love and courtship over a hundred years, and Hawley’s melodic voice makes the film all the more nostalgic, moving and heartbreaking. Everything is brought together extremely well through the music, the montage works effectively well, yet despite that, there is a story being told within that musical montage. There’s clearly an agenda, a message being told, a story being laid out but in a very subtle, showing how the world and its social attitudes changed over the course of many decades. Not for everyone, but it is an enchanting watch and it’s definitely worth viewing for Hawley’s amazing soundtrack.
LOVE IS ALL / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: KIM LONGINOTTO / MUSIC: RICHARD HAWLEY / RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 19TH