Neil R. Feeney ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
In the game of tennis, it’s quite simple: there’s a winner and there’s a loser. No matter how complicated the game may get, there must always be one winner, and one loser. 30-Love, a small family drama written and directed by Robert Cannon, tries to convey this but instead seems to touch on a much more gray area. The game is still there, sure, but it’s not exactly clear who the winner is. What is clear is that there are multiple losers, and unfortunately one of them happens to be the creators of the film themselves. The film is entertaining and keeps the viewers entertained, but it never quite leaves the court in which the game is played.
The film revolves around its unnamed protagonist, and his internal struggle with his life after his wife dies during childbirth. He decides to pick up his passed wife’s love of tennis, and vows to win a tournament in her honor. It’s never really completely clear why he does this other than to move the plot and give some context, but as the film shows, grief can change a man. Unfortunately the “man” in this case is the only one to truly change and have any sort of development. The other characters just sort of exist and don’t have much dimension. Even the “villain” character, a rival tennis player, is never fully explained to the audience so they never have the chance to understand him and why he is so mean to the protagonist. But there must be a villain, right?
On the other end of the court is the family drama, where the protagonists’ mother is attempting to take away his newborn child, on accounts of him neglecting his child to play tennis. Yes, that’s actually why he’s neglecting his child: to play tennis. This is again something that is never truly given any depth, other than to just hint at a darker side to the character. His addicting personality leads him down some dark paths, and the audience has no choice but to go with him. Although the audience is with him, they can never truly understand him. For example, his most cherished memory of his late wife is a piece of her hair, rather than the child they made together. The film just offers situations like this up, and then never goes any further to explain it.
30-Love gets praise for being original and homemade, and honestly the production isn’t bad, sans some sound issues. But the story never gets further than the game played, and is content with that fact. It never really has anything to say, just hits the ball back and forth with no bigger impacts or a perspective on anything. First time director Cannon does a great job of setting scenes and directing actors, but occasionally falls into showing off every camera angle he can instead of letting the scene develop and keep a tone. The film does what it can, but never really gives all that it could. No matter what occurs, the audience can’t escape the feeling that it’s just a game, and nothing more.
Overall Grade: C+