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The Independent Critic

Bruce Dinsmore, Julia Dawi, Isabelle Moreau, Jillian Harris
Christian Belz Parenteau
76 Mins.

 "Love or Lust" Serves Up Intelligent Romance  

This Canadian production directed by Christian Belz Parenteau is a breezy yet thought-filled romance geared toward adults starring Simon Boisvert, who also wrote the film, as Mark, a middle-aged man in a long-term relationship with Stephanie (Jillian Harris) whose relative stability is thrown into chaos when the notably younger woman gets restless and decides to move on. A chance encounter with a former college flame (Isabelle Moreau) rekindles that flame, though her frequent business trips with a former lover, Steve (Bruce Dinsmore), cause a growing tension despite Steve's having moved on with Michelle (Diana Lewis). 

At a sparse 76-minute running time, Love or Lust is a thought-provoking but not particularly substantial adult romantic drama that tackles intimate yet universal themes in a fairly straightforward way that is more intellectually than emotionally compelling. The film really blossoms when Mark and Julie (Moreau) re-connect, their chemistry feeling natural and their personalities just different enough to create both believable romance and a genuine tension. Boisvert does a nice job of keeping Mark an interesting fellow, somewhat self-involved yet richly human enough that it's not a complete turn-off. Moreau's Julie is more settled, a successful woman who has seemingly processed through many of her life experiences and is resolved in her success and her life. The rest of the supporting players avoid the one-note caricatures so often found in this type of film and do quite the fine job.

Love or Lust goes a few unique places, a somewhat surprising fact given the film's limited run time, though for the most part it's that rare intelligent romantic drama that will likely appeal mostly to middle-aged folks who will resonate with its themes of trust, commitment, insecurity and the seemingly lifelong struggle to simply surrender to that which will make us happy. 

If you get a chance, check it out.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic