‘Loving Adults’ takes tension in relationships to a new level

A+still+from+Loving+Adults.

Netflix

A still from “Loving Adults.”

Emily Girard, Features Editor

I’ve noticed a trend in my movie reviews, that being they seem to focus on movies covering topics I know little about.

With “Tully,” it was motherhood, something I never plan to experience. With “Don’t Look Up,” it was people committing acts that are immoral, ill-considered and generally thought of as a bad move. With “Loving Adults,” it was relationships, romance and all the other connections between people I only had secondhand experience with.

This is no rom-com, though. I knew that as soon as I read the Netflix summary.

“When Christian’s wife catches him cheating, he realizes the fine line between love and hate — and the terrible things people can do when pushed too far.”

What did this unknown Netflix summarizer mean? Was this going to be like the cheesy stalker movies I watched on repeat during quarantine when I had nothing else to do? Or did this movie have something else to offer?

The film establishes its tone with the opening line.

“Almost all murders have something to do with love.”

Well, that was a start.

The movie sort of tells the story in reverse. In the first scene, we see Christian running over what, at the time, we think is his wife Leonora with a van.

Then, we flash back. After establishing the character of a detective trying to figure out Leonora’s death, we see Christian and Leonora, alive and well, as Christian’s affair starts to come to light.

We also learn more about the characters at the start. Though Leonora is the one who discovers the affair and has her trust violated, Christian seems to have trust issues himself. When his friend and business partner Peter tells him that their construction company is being audited, Christian doesn’t trust him, even after Peter tells him the audit is just routine.

Ironic.

I also found Leonora’s reactions to certain situations tragic. After discovering more and more details about her husband’s affair (including watching him and his mistress have sex), she lets her anxiety and hostility build up, which only makes their eventual confrontation more explosive.

Still, for a brief moment, it looks like they are going to get an amicable divorce. Christian’s friend even encourages it, noticing that neither of them are happy.

“Everyone’s better off when a worn-out relationship is over,” he says.

I was confused as to how this plot would result in murder. Christian wanted a divorce, he was going to tell Leonora, they would break up and everyone would be happier in the end.

Then we find out that Christian and Peter committed fraud within their business to raise funds and save Christian’s ailing son, Johan, and Leonora knows about this.

The plot gets thicker.

Then we find out that when Leonora was younger, she rumoredly pushed a previous boyfriend off a cliff.

The plot gets even thicker.

Then we find out that the woman Christian was seen running down in the beginning was not actually his wife, but another person wearing the same red hoodie his wife always wore.

The movie goes completely off the rails.

The rest of the film is one question after another. Is Christian going to turn himself in? Is his wife going to find out about the murder through car wash surveillance footage?

Or will the detective find him out? How is Johan going to react to all this? Is Christian going to actually murder his wife by the end?

The answers to those questions, by the way, are no, yes, yes, unknown and no.

Even though I knew it wasn’t going to happen, I really wanted Christian and Leonora to work things out instead of going further down their dark path. I’m sure that reaction was common among audiences. Eventually, though, the lies and the obfuscations pile up so high that there’s no saving either of them.

Every relationship has a breaking point. Usually, that breaking point is not as intense as fraud, adultery and murder. But it is still true, no matter how hard we try to deny this.

I think Christian and Leonora tried to deny this as well. Leonora brings up early in the movie that when their son was sick, they agreed to do whatever was necessary as a team. I think Leonora believed that if they could stay together through that stress, they could get through any stressful situation.

As evidenced by Leonora’s efforts to rekindle her relationship with Christian through murdering his mistress together, she still believes it.

Overall, this movie definitely has more substance than the content of my quarantine binges, especially in the areas of plot twists and tension.

Moral of the story? Sometimes you just need to cut your losses.