Love Is All You Need? imagines a society where homosexuality is the norm, and heterosexuality is shunned. It tells the tale of two women that through the events of the film begin to feel varying levels of attraction towards people of the opposite sex.
One of the women is a young girl named Emily (Kyla Kenedy). She is introduced to the concept of heterosexuality when she meets her new neighbors, a couple living in a straight marriage. Her mom immediately informs her that heterosexuality is wrong, but the wheels have begun churning in young Emily’s mind. She begins to get bullied by people at her school, as they pick up on her sexual leanings. Though it’s never explained how, since she doesn’t actually do anything heterosexual until much later in the film. Her main nemesis, Paula (Ava Allan), also bullies her long before her heterosexual leanings are even introduced, and it’s never explained why she gets bullied in the first place.
The second woman we follow in the film is Jude (Briana Evigan). She is a star quarterback for her university football team, on fast track to stardom. At a party she meets Ryan (Tyler Blackburn), and they fall in love with each other much like a standard romantic arc. Jude begins to question her feelings for Ryan, and seeks council from her local priest, Reverend Rachel (Elisabeth Röhm). Rachel is the embodiment of extreme religious views, and through several sermons in the film she preaches hate and judgement upon any man or woman participating in heterosexual activity.
These three components are all interesting ideas, cause it’s easy enough to predict what notions they might explore. However, the film struggles to present them in a logical way, and the events are structured in an unnecessarily complex way. It detracts from the film’s message, and ruins any chance it has of making a long lasting impact. The violence all three of the film’s heterosexual lovers experience as a result of their feelings is a powerful message on its own, and it’s easy to compare it with the violence laid down upon homosexual people in our society.
It is therefore a shame that director Kim Rocco Shields never allows the events to speak for themselves. She constantly interweaves the events together, attempting to make it seem like it’s all happening at the same time. Even if it was, seeing Emily getting beaten up by Paula and a group of other people is a powerful scene, but a lot of its emotional impact is undercut by having other scenes inter-cut with her beating. It would have created a much more long lasting impression if the film had allowed the scenes to speak for themselves, as oppose to worrying about making it seem like it’s all happening at the same time.
This is all made even worse by the film’s 2 hour runtime, which never feels earned or necessary. None of the characters are fleshed out enough to make them able to carry a film for that long, and the annoyance felt by the stylistic choices just makes the viewer want to stop watching after 30 minutes, rather than sit around for another 90. This really is an idea that works better as a short film, as seen with the 2011 short by the same name, of which this film is a feature length remake.
Overall, the idea for this film is interesting. The acting throughout is decent, though never anything special. The writing is fine, but too many of the characters are thinly fleshed out, with little explanation for why they behave the way they do. It tries to make a point about how religious extremism contributes to these sorts of attitudes, but never really dares to call it out. It also attempts to make a strong message by comparing the attitudes presented towards heteros in this film, with the attitudes towards homosexuals in regular life. However, it never manages to do it in a meaningful or impactful way.