Written by Filipa Henriques.
When I was 15 I was afraid of dying - not that I’m not afraid now but life eventually teaches you how to deal with it. I believe there’s something that connects your first romantic love with your first insomnia fearing for death - you enjoy this special moment so much that you’re afraid of losing it. This fear was something that changed my way of experiencing love and heartbreaks: there’s a special connection between people every time someone cares for you and it’s not less valuable if it’s not for life. Sometimes these special connections fade very quickly and you still find yourself thinking about them while waiting in the supermarket line.
I was so afraid of dying that I came very close to Plato’s Phaedo dialogue. According to Plato, we come from an intelligible world where we are all some kind of light beam of love. We spend our life in the sensitive world and if we lead it aiming to love others as equals we will reach the intelligible world again soon, leading our souls to afterlife. It’s obvious that Plato was not actually thinking about romantic love when making this premise, but being a teenager you usually give your imagination room to wander according to your needs.
I know it might seem a little bit strange to start writing about Love Life talking about Plato’s theory, but I’ll explain why. This is the first memory I have of being obsessed with loving someone: I have a clear memory of laying down with my then boyfriend looking at the trees and thinking that he could be my highway for reaching this so-called intelligible world. Plot twist: it wasn’t, just like Love Life is not a series about the romantic love for others, but instead of the ever-growing love for ourselves.
Being in love can be a traumatizing experience: Anna Kendrick plays a great role telling us this. It’s also one of the most important experiences for your emotional growth. The series is divided in ten episodes and each one tell us the story of Darby and one of the different loves of her life. It starts with her first serious relationship and it grows to tell us her story with her mother, her best friend and finally, with herself. The great thing about Love Life is the ability of making us consider that sometimes the love of our life is right there in the mirror; it’s a pity that some people need their whole life to see that.
This idea of being able to love ourselves is a current conversation theme between me and my friends - the constant struggle with the idea of not being fulfilled unless you have someone by your side to make it better, sometimes even worth it. I always end this type of conversation with different conclusions - being alone is something you’re gonna be grateful for in the future, being in love with someone is also something you’re gonna be thankful for. All these experiences, no matter how good or bad they are, are part of the great path that is our story in this world.
The greatest and most constructive point of Love Life is the idea that you go through life constantly searching for something that challenges you, something different - an idea of a perfect match - but most of the times the answer is to search it within yourself first.
Love Life is streaming on HBO: don’t miss it. Anna Kendrick’s legs are worth watching.
Filipa Henriques works at Portugal Film - Portuguese Film Agency, an institution for the advancement and widespread reach of Portuguese independent cinema. Her studies started in the North of Portugal at Universidade do Minho and continued onto a semester in France's Paris Descartes and a masters' degree in Lisbon's Nova FCSH. After interning at the world renowned film festival IndieLisboa and the documentary film oriented Apordoc - Associação pelo Documentário, she started work at Portugal Film three years ago. She is now completing her studies with a second masters' degree at ISCTE on the Arts' Markets and recently started to collaborate with the IndieMusic selection committee at IndieLisboa.