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Toronto 2010: “All About Love,” Reviewed

Toronto 2010: “All About Love,” Reviewed (photo)

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Reviewed at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival.

You wouldn’t be wrong to think “All About Love” feels a bit like how American films dealt with gay subject matter in the 1980s – with caution and reserve, indulging in soft focus and the occasional swell of a sappy love song in the background. But it should be remembered, of all the good ones at least, that they were building towards bigger breakthroughs with deceptively simple stories that served to lift gay characters to the level of straight ones in like-minded films.

This isn’t to say that one should grade Ann Hui’s romantic comedy on a curve, since it’s a well-told story that stands on its own. But it’s important to note Hui’s struggle to film it without censorship in her home country of China, where it will be banned from ever playing in public since the suggestion of two women falling in love is too bold, let alone the idea they want to raise a family without a man in the mix. Which is exactly what happens when Anita (Vivian Chow) and Macy (Sandra Ng), a pair of schoolgirls who fell in love while they were in their teens rediscover their spark after running into each other at a prenatal clinic.

Both Anita and Macy have unwanted pregnancies by men who can’t handle commitment. Anita’s one-night stand is barely 20 and desperately wants to be in her life, though she has no interest in him. Meanwhile Macy, a successful attorney, is already reevaluating her sexuality by the time she sleeps with her married client, who shows no interest in raising a kid when he initially finds out.

09142010_AllAboutLove2.jpgHowever, the men take a backseat to what becomes a film that normalizes same-sex relationships as subtly as “The Kids Are All Right,” minus the kids since they aren’t born yet. In fact, the drama of the two women’s pregnancies are kept to a minimum as well, leaving the focus on a perfectly functional relationship between two women, apparently based on a true story, which comes through in the intelligence and unforced nature of its characters.

That sentiment also extends to Hui’s direction, which is warm without overdoing it (except for the music). It’s not surprising to learn that Hui originally envisioned the story as part of a television series since “All About Love” feels highly serialized, with casual conversations between Anita and Macy and their groups of friends taking their time and story strands weaving together towards a cohesive whole. There’s some things that aren’t subtle — Hui can’t help but put posters of Rosie the Riveter in Macy’s office alongside posters of feminist slogans, even though Macy’s client is charged with domestic abuse — yet there’s an effortlessness that pervades the entire movie, making this an occasion when love comes easy, but it’s changing people’s minds that’s hard.

“All About Love” doesn’t yet have U.S. distribution.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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