Love Lives Here is reminiscent of so many African-American romcoms that it’s unable to break the mould and find something totally fresh to communicate to its audience.
Director Norman Maake has assembled an impressive array of South African talent in an unremarkable enterprise about young people in Durban and the antics they get up to in the name of love.
The production attempts to become daring at one stage in its depiction of nudity and sex scenes, but it’s been done before without raising too many eyebrows – and with more panache.
Love Lives Here borrows too many hackneyed ideas to make it a totally original offering. It’s basically run-of-the-mill entertainment with imperfect characters going through the (e)motions without making much of a screen impact.
Stylish costumes and a commanding use of South African music are prominently featured, but these elements alone don’t make a great film.
The key character is Zinhle Malinga (Thando Thabethe), one of several individuals seeking the perfect answer to love, but looking in all the wrong places. She arrives at her apartment and discovers, to her horror, that her faithless boyfriend is in bed with another young beauty.
For the rest of the film he (Andile Gumbi) tries desperately to woo her back.
The narrative consists of a series of varying love stories woven together and while, admittedly, the “twist” touches on traditional African weddings versus more modern ones, the subject is never adequately dealt with.
Another factor is that most of the women shown here are independent and strong and in one scene a poor fellow nearly has his arm broken. Do not mess with these babes! The unfortunate men have no chance under these circumstances.
There is a market for films of this nature, but our audiences are growing more sophisticated, which means there are no box office guarantees. Our producers and directors are certainly growing in stature and over the past weeks, there have been a clutch of really perceptive and entertaining fare.
Sadly, Love Lives Here fails to make that grade.
Cast: Thando Thabethe, Zola Nombola, Andile Gumbi, Motlatsi Mafatshe, Nomalanga Shozi.
Director: Norman Maake.