With Love and a Major Organ
Director: Kim Albright
Starring: Anna Maguire, Hamza Haq, Veena Sood, Donna Benedicto
Inspired by the award-winning play of the same name, Kim Albright’s With Love and a Major Organ is certainly a unique film. The story is set in a world where people can rip out their hearts because they’re all simply made from inanimate objects, society calls for people to suppress their true feelings and technology has silently taken over in the form of LifeZapp, an app that essentially controls your life having scanned your brain for all of its juicy data, I mean information.
"There are flourishes of flair throughout which were easy on the eye and the cinematography is strong, but the overall feeling of the movie is one of indifference."
Virtual insurance broker Anabel (Maguire) is a bit more of a free spirit and always looks to follow her heart which sets her apart from her peers. After meeting socially awkward George (Haq) on a park bench, she decides to (literally) give him her heart. Sucks to be her though as George decides to run off and embrace his new life and heart, having lived a sheltered life under the gaze of his domineering mother Mona (Sood). Cue much soul and identity searching.
With Love and a Major Organ is a film that carries a super premise, but one that absolutely does not succeed with it. Now, it will work for many (and, indeed, it seems as if it has) but I just could not get into it. Whilst the characters are deliberately guarded about their feelings, any potential for nuance or reasons to care about them falls by the wayside thanks to the clunky writing and lack of chemistry between Maguire and Haq. Its nauseating attempts at quirkiness wore thin extremely quickly, artist Anabel would launch into streams of consciousness that were more ridiculous than random and these moments simply felt like padding. Yes, characters need to express themselves individually and in some way, but too much of the runtime felt like attempts at creating zany profundity when it was anything but. The film never felt like it had found a comfortable flow, from switching between Anabel's woes as an artist and personal struggles to George's initial shoegazing and eventual independence, by the time the final sequences arrived, the film had lost its way even further.
It is a great-looking film visually, though. There are flourishes of flair throughout which were easy on the eye and the overall cinematography is strong, but the overall feeling of the movie is one of indifference - partly due to the in-world suppression of emotions, but mostly due to the film feeling as if was holding me at arm's length throughout.
Sadly, With Love and a Major Organ to me was nonsensical despite its intriguing premise and well-intentioned messages. I imagine the stageplay would be stronger given the stripped-back nature of the format, but, as a film, whilst it's certainly original, it’s just not very good.
July 30th 2023