How far would you go for unrequited love? And if the love you seek is a forced one, will that make you happy? A tale of this sort is depicted in God of Love (2010). Written and directed by Luke Matheny while still a student, God of Love won the Academy Award for Best Short Film in 2011.
It is a short and simple shorty shot in black and white. The 18-minute film follows Raymond Goodfellow (played by writer and director Matheny), a lounge singer and dart thrower who is in love with Kelly (Marian Brock). Unfortunately, Kelly is in love with his best friend and bandmate Fozzie (Christopher Hirsh). Raymond prays to God every day to make the girl of his dreams fall in love with him. Finally, his prayers are answered when he receives a box of love-inducing darts that acts like Cupid’s arrows.
The dart will make one love someone for almost hours and the decision is up to them if they want to stay in the relationship or not. When he finds that the darts truly do work after testing them on his bass player and a random girl, he decides to use them on Kelly, the girl of his dreams.
However, things don’t happen the same with Raymond and Kelly even though he tries his best to do everything to make her fall for him after using the dart. She decides not to continue with the relationship after 6 hours, which leaves Raymond in dilemma.
This takes you back to the first narration in the film which goes like this, “You can’t control who you love. You can’t control who loves you.” This becomes the solid foundation for the rest of the film. The story of magically forcing the person you love to fall in love with you is examined along with the ethics of how you can’t control who loves you. This leaves you with the question, “Would forcing someone to fall in love with you be delightful?” And that too knowing it’s forced? Raymond finds the answer to this towards the end of the film.
God of Love is a film that radiates the elegance, brilliance, and romanticism of the French New Wave. It was filmed using the RED camera system by D. P. Bobby Webster, and it has a jazz original score by award-winning musician Sasha Gordon that includes songs that Matheny performs. The cast of God of Love is worth a mention as they beautifully portray their strong characters. The actors, particularly Matheny, give an exceptional lead performance as Raymond.
The script by Matheny is well-written and the direction is also crisp. The film succeeds because it is sincere and humorous and keeps the audience at ease throughout and teaches you the true meaning of love.