Love, Ludlow premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and then went on the festival
circuit before debuting on DVD. It's a sweet little movie that is not without charm, but on occasion it
betrays its stage origins. Screenwriter David Patterson has adapted his play Finger Painting in a Murphy
Bed. The film traces the on-again, off-again, on-again relationship between Myra (Alicia Goranson), a
tough-talking female temp worker from Queens, and Reggie (David Eigenberg), a shy co-worker who
appears to have self-esteem issues. The potential spoiler to the budding romance is Myra's oddball
brother Ludlow (Brendan Sexton III), whose "problems" are never clearly defined in the script.
Ludlow is clearly intelligent -- he can quote Shakespeare and other poets -- but he appears mentally
disabled in some fashion, often acting like a petulant five year old.
Since Myra is Ludlow's only relative, she has willingly sacrificed her life to care for him, despite
his trying her patience. When Reggie works up the courage to ask her out, she eventually says yes.
When Reggie shows up at for the date, Ludlow does everything he can to discourage his sister's
suitor. It's sort of an inverse version of THE GLASS MENAGERIE without the overbearing mother.
And unlike Williams' Gentleman Caller, Reggie actually has feelings for Myra. So, Reggie sets out
to win Ludlow's approval. There's a somewhat contrived scene that results in Reggie having to spend
the night, and there's also the requisite sequence where Ludlow disappears, causing his sister to reconsider
her decision to try to have a life of her own.
What holds the audience's interest are the lead performances. Goranson, who first rose to fame
as eldest daughter Becky on the TV series Roseanne and who has subsequently honed her craft on
stage, crafts a strong performance as Myra. From her first appearance, it is clear that Myra is a wounded
soul, but one whose tough-talking exterior hides a more sensitive side. She deftly displays both sides
of the character and makes the viewer care about her dilemma. Eigenberg, who is perhaps best recalled
as Miranda's significant other on Sex and the City, matches Goranson. They perfectly complement one
another and their budding romance is rather believable. Sexton, who has been away from the screen
for a bit and who has matured into a handsome man with leading man potential, perhaps the most
difficult role. Ludlow's "illness" isn't really defined and in lesser hands the character could have devolved
into someone too cutesy. Sexton brings a refreshing originality to the role and meshes nicely with
Love, Ludlow marks the feature directorial debut of Adrienne J.Weiss who exhibits promise.
The film has its charms and meets its ambitions, even if it does sometimes feel too stagey.
Rating: B -
MPAA Rating: R for some language including sexual references
Running time: 86 mins.
Viewed on DVD
|© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.