Loveless (Nelyubov)


There must be no feeling or emotion worse than the dreadful realisation that you are unwanted. In Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless, a 12-year old boy faces this hopeless reality as he is caught in the midst of a bitter and ugly divorce. Not only are his parents indecisive about who should get custody of the son, they have also found ways to move on and with different partners that provide fulfillment. The son wants none of it, and sensing the uncertain future that awaits him, decides to run away.

Zvyagintsev’s film is devastating not only for its unflinching look at the continual decay of a failed marriage but also in the futility of the elaborate search. The gradual change in the two principal characters, from relief at their marriage finally ending and the promise of a new beginning to the eventual suffering that comes with the situation that they find themselves under, is handled with skill by the richly complex script that tears away at the insecurities of the parents to reveal greater depths of understanding.

What’s even more fascinating is how well conceived and executed the scenes of the search for the missing boy are. From the volunteer search party inspecting every corner of an abandoned complex where the child would usually hide to searching every possible inch of the thick forest route he would take to school, the scope of the operation and its stark execution on screen are thorough and meticulous enough to put even best crime films to shame. This is not just a by-product of the films ambition but also a reflection of its focus on using time and energy in creating vivid and believable details. The film slowly, quietly, meditatively builds to its haunting conclusion, which by the time it arrives leaves a shattering and long-lasting impression.

Rating: ★★★★½

About Faizan Rashid

A veteran Dubai based film critic, Faizan has been reviewing movies for nearly a decade. His work has been published in local newspapers such as 7days and on prestigious online websites such as MSN Arabia and