Review: ‘Do I Love You?’

Lisa Gornick's debut feature "Do I Love You?" is a no-budget, vid-shot attempt to transfer the tone of Woody Allen's breezier Manhattan relationship roundelays to a hip London lesbian milieu. Even simple charm needs some substance to spring from, and pic too often seems to be flirting with, rather than addressing its ideas.

Eager to ingratiate itself but perilously slight, writer-director-star Lisa Gornick’s debut feature “Do I Love You?” is a no-budget, vid-shot attempt to transfer the tone of Woody Allen’s breezier Manhattan relationship roundelays to a hip London lesbian milieu. Even simple charm needs some substance to spring from, and pic too often seems to be flirting with, rather than addressing its ideas. Nonetheless, attractive cast and light tenor could win some video sales after extensive gay fest travel, while feature does suggest Gornick has the talent (not to mention chutzpah) for bigger/better things.

Gornick plays Marina, a thirty-ish intellectual and dedicated bicyclist who seems to be riding in circles on all fronts. She’d like to write, but has made no progress toward a “masterpiece.” She wonders if having another kind of “product,” a baby, might make her feel more fulfilled. When journalist Louise (Sarah Patterson), lone straight woman in a large circle of friends, publishes a provocative essay series questioning “What Is a Lesbian?,” Marina all too eagerly holds her own identity up for scrutiny — visiting long-ago boyfriends, considering taking on a new one, growing distant from live-in girlfriend Romy (Raquel Cassidy). Meanwhile, other lesbian couples in their orbit also “experiment” with infidelity, to variably liberating/destructive ends.

Forever biking around the city, airing her neurotic musings in voiceover, Marina is likeable but too artificially “in crisis.”

Pic’s tangle of relationships real and theoretical likewise feel too authorially abstract, with frolicsome tenor perhaps compensating for lack of character depth. As a result, “Do I Love You?” is a painless experience, amusing at times (if seldom as witty as one would like), but lacking a convincing raison d’etre.

Mix of pro and non-pro thesps is agreeably handled. Editing is reasonably fleet considering talk is the main event. Made for a purported £1,000 ($1,666) enterprising feature unfortunately looked the part at its San Francisco Lesbian & Gay fest screening, where purported projection errors resulted in a washed-out look and only variably clear dialogue.

Do I Love You?

U.K.

Production

A Valiant Doll Prods. presentation. Produced, directed, written by Lisa Gornick.

Crew

Camera (color, Digibeta), Inge Blackman, Michael Needham, Heidi Martin; editors, Maya T. Harris, Diarmid Scrimshaw; sound, Matthew Gough. Reviewed at San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Festival, June 21, 2003. Running time: 73 MIN.

With

Lisa Gornick, Raquel Cassidy, Ruth Posner, Brendan Gregory, Sarah Patterson, Kamal Sylvester, Katherine McGoldrick, Harri Alexander.

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