BFI Flare Film Festival Spotlight: I Love You Both

I Love You Both was one of my must-see films at this year’s BFI Flare Festival and quite sadly, I struggled with it for a few reasons. But quite honestly, I think the film I had in my mind was a lot different to what the film actually was supposed to be and what it turned out to be.

Let me just lay it out on the line for you…

I Love You Both is not a film about bisexuality. If like me, that’s what you heard and is what you had in mind for the underlying premise of this film, then I’ll think you’ll be hugely disappointed with the film too. And I don’t think I’m wrong for thinking I Love You Both was going to be a comedy about bisexuality. Even the festival programmer who introduced the film made a point that I Love You Both put the “B” (big emphasis) in LGBTQ and even jokingly made the bisexuals raise their hands in the audience. So, really, I thought I was going to be viewing the bisexual comedy of the year and that’s really where I got it all wrong.

Again, I don’t think it’s my fault I got it wrong, but hopefully I can explain…

What’s it about? You’ve got two fraternal twins named Donny (gay) and Krystal (straight? who knows?) who like most twins, have this awkward, unexplainable connection to each other that only they could possibly make sense of. Using codewords (like “watermelon”) to bail each other out of awkward situations, the weird siblings find themselves somewhat fascinated with the sexy and charming Andy who they meet at a house party. Andy takes a shine to both of them and is very flirty indeed, one of “those” types that just about anyone is immediately drawn into. It’s no big surprise that both the twins fall in massive “like” with the cutie. And it’s at this point where I start to feel a bit flustered by the film. The film doesn’t really ever explore Andy’s bisexuality at all – it’s really all about the twins and their dysfunction and their strange relationships they have with their mother and father, students, co-workers and colleagues. Andy is sort of just a side character to the twin’s weirdness. In fact, I don’t even think Andy is ever referred to as bisexual at all in the film. It’s not much of a story point in the slightest other than Andy goes on a date with the twins. Sigh – there is a missed opportunity here for some really compelling storytelling.

However, not all is lost: If you can get over the main problem I had about the film and it’s lack of character exploration in Andy’s bisexuality, I Love You Both is an enjoyable film. It’s deadpan and blunt humour will make even the most cynical of cynics crack a smile and the film is very well-written by both real life brother and sister Doug and Kristin Archibald, with Doug on first-time directing duties.

I Love You Both is a clever dialogue film and you won’t find yourself hating it at all. When it eventually ends up on Netflix, add it to your queue for a watch. It’s not the most rowdy of rom-coms that you’ll ever see, but it’s certainly not a bad film either. I Love You Both is funny and cute and after having a week or so to think about the film, I guess I enjoyed it after all once I got over the disappointment that film doesn’t ever focus on bisexuality. Having a better idea of what the film is really about will probably make me enjoy it even more on the eventual second viewing – watch the trailer below, Doug and Kristen’s description of the film is in fact, spot on.

If you like weird little, snarky dialogue films and come from the Dawson’s Creek camp of witty writing, I Love You Both certainly won’t disappoint. If you want to see a film that explores the funny side of bisexuality, you’re completely out of luck altogether with this film.

I’m literally on the proverbial fence with this one because I feel I was sold something different on the tin, but I suggest you go see I Love You Both to form your own opinion.

Psst – I probably do like it after all that.

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More from BFI Flare:
Check out Phil Marriott’s and Katherine Ellis’ podcast review of BFI Flare Festival selection Against The Law and La Cage Aux Folles.