Why is love so complicated? Every single person who has ever experienced love has asked themselves this one fundamental question. Some see it as a passing phase, while others see it as a crucial time for personal growth. With that comes the “happily ever after” fantasy of a perfect match and soulmate. So how do we know when the right moment is or who is suitable for us? That is a journey for everyone to face. Within this realm of romantic relationships comes a tale by Prabhu Ram Vyas, which centers exactly on the painful phase of learning the art of love. “Lover” (2024) follows a young couple as they navigate the complexities of their relationship after being together for six years. Filmmaker Vyas lets the audience in on a deep dive into the personalities of Arun and Divya, the film’s main characters.

Observing Arun, we get the impression that he is a disturbed man who finds something troubling in his surroundings. To be more precise, he starts to distrust Divya after learning about her discreet plans. There’s a selfish streak in his persona, reminiscent of Nana Patekar’s role in the 1996 film “Agni Sakshi.” Arun’s outbursts are a protective mechanism of his egocentric conduct, as his entire personality is infused with strict masculine ideals. The main question is why Arun expresses all these shades of negativity towards Divya while he still loves her deeply. Upon further examination of his character traits, viewers would notice his addiction to alcohol and frequent use of foul language.

We do see him being compassionate to Divya whenever he realizes he has messed up. Although his darker side isn’t constantly present, it does appear whenever Divya inadvertently induces a triggering point. There seems to be an imbalance of Yin and Yang in his way of projecting himself. His generally pessimistic personality causes his relationship to head in an unhealthy direction. A rift has also been developed between the father and son due to the father’s struggle with alcohol use disorder and domestic disputes. Since Arun and his mother have both been victims of domestic violence, there’s a glimpse into the dysfunctional aspects of their family dynamic.

Here, the director sketches out the endurance of certain families as they battle insurmountable challenges. The director also showcases Arun’s family background as a contributing factor towards his character development, hinting at the necessity of sustaining a healthy family. On the subject of his mother’s influence in his life, he has a soft spot for her and finds great value in her reminders of her hard work and compassion. How much of his personality idiosyncrasies are a product of his background, and what role does he play in overcoming these shortcomings?

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Lover (2024) Movie Review
A still from “Lover” (2024)

As for Divya, we witness her having the aptitude for endurance to give in and keep Arun’s negativity at bay. Thanks to her patience, she has managed to tune out the negativity to the best of her ability, but even that has its limits. Even on seemingly insignificant matters, like whether to go on a trip or attend a reunion, she seems to lack the independence to make her own decisions. It annoys Divya that Arun seems to have problems with every aspect of her plan. Nonetheless, they have a certain level of understanding when they’re alone together, and there’s no pressing need to be apart. In this specific aspect, the filmmaker brings attention to Arun’s attachment issues, which go against Divya’s decision-making style. She is more independent and cherishes her alone time intensely, but Arun deeply controls her.

The combination of verbal abuse and mental torture, followed by the anger tantrums thrown by Arun at unpredictable incidents, have made Divya more vigilant. This compels her to start telling white lies to Arun to escape from future rifts. Filmmaker Vyas also introduces a supporting character named Madan, who emerges to help Divya reconsider what it means to be a good companion. Divya and Madan have an insightful conversation on adaptability and connections, and she gains perspective on her own relationship issues. Based on these variables, the ongoing clashes between Arun and Divya take them on a bouncy journey of separation and reconciliation, which covers the rest of the film.

“Lover” mainly shines due to the effectiveness of the performances. Manikandan’s performance as Arun is sure to turn heads, possibly even more compelling than his portrayal of Rajakannu in the film ‘Jai Bheem.’ His ability to authentically portray Arun’s inner emotions is commendable and never comes across as forced. Equally impressive is Sri Gouri Priya’s performance as Divya. I believe her performance carries the same resonance as Trisha’s portrayal of Janu in ’96, allowing us to witness and feel every single moment of happiness and sorrow.

Filmmaker Vyas expertly handles the theme of turbulent and toxic relationships. It is notable that Vyas previously directed a web series titled “Livin,” which delved into the lives of live-in couples. It is almost viable to say that Vyas is an expert on relationship dramas and has greater potential to attract a devoted fan base. Sean Roldan’s hypnotic compositions, especially “Ezutha Kadhaiyo” and “Uyir Vaasame,” melt listeners’ minds with each passing second.

“Lover” offers a nuanced and realistic examination of modern romantic relationships. Similar to how our minds go through stages of denial and acceptance when faced with challenges in life, love, too, must be reexamined and accepted as intrinsic to the qualities that make each person unique. The film makes one ponder whether the amount of time a couple spends together or the depth of their understanding better indicates the significance of love in a relationship. While Vyas’s love story may not appeal to rom-com aficionados, it can assist individuals seeking a long-term, meaningful relationship.

Read More: Lover: OTT Release Date & Where to Stream

Lover (2024) Movie Links: IMDb, Letterboxd, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikiwand
Lover (2024) Movie Cast: K. Manikandan, Sri Gouri Priya Reddy, Kanna Ravi, Harini Sundararajan, Harish Kumar, Saravanan, Geetha Kailasam, Nikhila Shankar, Arunachaleshwaran, Pintu Pandu
Lover (2024) Movie Genre: Drama | Runtime: 2h 25m
Where to watch Lover

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