Sometime around 2019, Amazon released an anthology series called Modern Love that was based on the popular New York Times column of the same name, and everyone fell in love. So when it was renewed for a second season, Modern Love Season 2 had a lot to live up to.
– Modern Love season 2 review does not contain spoilers –
Season 2 features yet another 8 short stories of love, based on real columns submitted by people and adapted into a screenplay. Each episode hits the thirty-minute marker, and a few minutes to spare. All 8 episodes have different directors and feature an ensemble that is widely different. So, we thought it would only be fair to review them separately:
Episode 1: On a Serpentine Road, With the Top Down
The first episode is impossible to talk much about without spoiling anything, but we’ll try. It deals with a woman who is unusually attached to her bright blue vintage sports car and is being pressured to sell it by her husband. Revealing anything more about the plot would be a spoiler, so this is where I stop.
This episode is truly bitter-sweet in its honesty. It deals with the reality of grief, loss, and love. Losing someone is difficult, and sometimes it’s okay to let go of practicality for the time being. The acting isn’t stellar, and that’s the only reason it doesn’t suck you right in. With a total of 30 mins of run time, this episode is powerful and will move you, despite its shortcomings.
Episode 2: The Night Girl Finds a Day Boy
A different take on a fairytale-esque romance. A girl with a sleep disorder, whose nights are day and days are nights, falls in love with a day boy, whose days function the opposite. It’s a clichéd story really, the same old redundant plotline of every rom-com. And yet I’d say I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The points of conflict are something one would come to expect, but the way the story progresses is what catches you off guard.
Episode 3: Strangers on a (Dublin) Train
A girl meets a boy on a train and it feels like they have a real connection. They agree to meet at the train station 2 weeks later and don’t exchange phone numbers. However, the pandemic has gone on longer than they’ve expected, and both of them might not show up after all…
It’s almost like Before Sunrise but set at the beginning of the pandemic. This episode is tooth-rotting sweet, but the clichés hit a little too hard this time around. The Irish accent is charming, and the romance is great but it’s like every rom-com rolled into a much shorter and a much more diluted version of Before Sunrise. Not my favourite.
Episode 4: A Life Plan for Two, Followed By One
Unrequited feelings suck. And well, let’s face it, it’s normal. But it’s ironic how there are hardly any pieces of cinema that don’t end with a fairytale end. Episode 4 (A Life Plan for Two, Followed By One) was exactly this. How two best friends, with only one of them in love with the other (obviously), finally confront their feelings and grow up.
If clichés were a dartboard, this one would miss them all. It wasn’t cute, but it was real. And that’s what made it so fun to watch. It feels more like an indie A24 production rather than just a romantic comedy. Worth a watch, if not more.
Episode 5: Am I …? Maybe This Quiz Will Tell Me
Let’s be honest, which one of us hasn’t taken a Buzzfeed quiz to figure out something we were questioning?
Episode 5 features Katie, who’s in the middle of figuring out her sexuality. So when she starts developing feelings for another girl, you’d think the answer would be easier. But Katie decided to turn to online quizzes for help. And what is teenage angst if not questionable life choices?
The magic of this film is in the details. There’s the accurate teenage angst, internal turmoil, drama within friendships, and sibling relationships, all in those 35 minutes. Nothing feels rushed or undercooked, and the acting is phenomenal. If you had to choose any one episode to watch, choose this one.
Episode 6: In the Waiting Room of Estranged Spouses
Episode 6 features an ex-military man, who is in the process of getting a divorce from his cheating spouse. So becoming friends with the ex-wife of the dude she’s cheating on you with wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do, right? Right!?!
This episode was like a teenage coming-of-age movie but for middle-aged men and women. and we mean that as a compliment. Full of colour and cinematic sequences with violent daydreams, it may seem over the top, but it fits well with the theme and added some much-needed comedic relief.
Fair Warning: The ending does break your heart. Twice.
Episode 7: How Do You Remember Me?
Without spoiling too much, episode 7 deals with 2 men who go on a date and have a good time. However, even with a perfect evening, things don’t end well, and they only see each other ages later on a random street in New York.
Flashbacks are tricky to get right. Especially because they can completely change how you view the present. Context can change everything. Episode 7 uses flashbacks to narrate its tale, but here context means nothing. In fact, the sole reason is to actually establish that they may not be very accurate. Episode 7 is complicated because there’s virtually no plot. However, it still does draw you in rather with its stylized footage and perspective shifts. I’d watch it if I were you.
Episode 8: A Second Embrace, with Hearts and Eyes Open
Second chances are hard to come by, especially with love. Episode 8 is a story of a now-divorced couple with two daughters, and how they find their love again, with a whole new perspective.
Episode 8 was perhaps the most nuanced in terms of acting and direction, with multiple layers to each character. But, the writing was where it fell short. There were plot holes that should have been delved deeper into, and with the potential impact this story could have had, it would easily have been my favourite.
Final Verdict: Modern Love Season 2
With the success of the first season, Modern Love Season 2 had a high enough precedent to reach, let alone surpass. For example, Season 1’s Take Me as I Am, Whoever I Am starring Anne Hathaway, is still an indisputable favourite of mine. But quite a few of the episodes from Modern Love Season 2 have come to a close second. Sure there were some misses, but the hits more than make up for them.
All in all, Modern Love Season 2 is the perfect bingeable series for this weekend and is now streaming on Amazon Prime.