Really Love: Intimacy and Art

Even the way Stevie and Isaiah move with one another feels like a slow, warm, choreography of intimacy, of knowing and of carefully approaching one another with care and vulnerability. There is never a moment in “Really Love” when I feel that Stevie and Isaiah are drawn together by the need to connect on a primarily physical level. Their intimacy is as a means to connecting to something higher within one another that can perhaps never be reached with anyone else. As two busy, ambitious people, with dreams and carefully planned goals in law and art respectively, which could easily divert their paths away from one another, the strong connection between Stevie and Isaiah seems to take even the both of them by surprise.

I also love the ways in which intimacy plays a role in the relationships of both of Really Love’s main characters. The relationship between art curator Chenai Hungwe, played impeccably by Uzo Aduba (go watch “In Treatment” now if you still playin ya self and haven’t gotten your life! LOL!) is only shown in a small handful of scenes and yet you feel the weight of it, the well informed backstory indicated by her professional cadence, her revealing interpretation of the artist’s journey in Yusef’s painting as well and her eventual appraisal of Isaiah’s work, her unflinching steadiness and assessment in knowing when he is truly ready for a solo show.

You can’t miss the organic chemistry between Stevie and her mother, played by the legendary, talented, and exquisitely beautiful veteran actress Suzzanne Douglas. They share one of my favorite scenes together nearing the conclusion of the film. The connection between them, despite what we understand from Stevie’s mother as judgement and a dose of upper middle class snobbery breaks way to genuine concern for her daughter born of experiential wisdom.

For me “Really Love” is a glistening gem in the genre of romantic drama; a work of art that beautifully expresses the undercurrent of emotion, vulnerability, insecurity and risk that often accompany the intensity of intimacy that threatens individual ambitions and a sense of self.

Like the soft, lulling, soulful and sexy score by Khari Marteen, and the expertly soft lighting of beautiful Black bodies in this diversely Black and Brown cast, art and intimacy facilitate and kindle the relationship between Stevie and Isaiah as well as they potentially drive a wedge between them.

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