The feature directorial debut of Russell Harbaugh—a participant in the 2013 Sundance Screenwriter and Director Labs with the project, known for his Sundance-selected short Rolling on the Floor Laughing—Love After Love begins with the death of a family patriarch, but is more of an exploration of the emotional lives of those family members who remain.
Starring Andie McDowell as Suzanne and Chris O’Dowd as Nicholas, her middle-aged son, the film depicts the struggles the pair go through together, and those they face alone. “It’s an art movie. It’s really heavily influenced by the movies that I fell in love with from France, so it has a specific personality to it,” the director says of the film’s tone.
“It’s a movie about loss, in a certain way, in that we lose our patriarch, and from my point of view, my character felt for some reason that he would somehow inherit the role of patriarch, and is very disappointed to find that that natural succession doesn’t take place, and that kind of kills him,” O’Dowd explains.” He has this relationship with his mother, which is at times very intimate and beautiful, but also very difficult because he thinks the role of patriarch would almost make him the man of the house in her eyes, and she doesn’t necessarily see that in him.”
An actress known for such classics as Groundhog Day, Robert Altman’s Short Cuts, and Steven Soderbergh’s seminal Sex, Lies, and Videotape, MacDowell told Deadline that there has been a dearth of rich, complex roles for women in recent years, expressing her appreciation of films like Love After Love, which allow her to flex certain creative muscles.
“The process was unique for me, and I’ve been doing this for a long time, but I’ve never had the opportunity to work in this way, and I am just so grateful that I was given this opportunity to play a complex character,” she says. “I’ve been waiting for something like this for such a long time. It was so delicate, the way that we worked, and you see in the very beginning of the movie, my character is bold, and beautiful, and dynamic, and sexy, and secure, and loving.”
To view Deadline’s conversation with the Love After Love stars and director Russell Harbaugh, click above. Also appearing in Deadline’s Studio on Saturday were stars James Adomian, Juliet Rylance, and Dree Hemingway.
Upcoming showtimes for the film can be found here.