REVIEW: ‘Modern Love Amsterdam’ Shows A Beautiful Spectrum Of Love

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Modern Love Amsterdam - But Why Tho

Modern Love Amsterdam is the latest iteration of Prime Video’s series based on the famous New York Times’ Modern Love column. Each of the six episodes in this anthology demonstrates distinct love stories with unconventional family structures, queerness, grief, and longing all on vibrant display. The vignettes may be short, but the emotional punch they pack is far beyond their weight class.

I came to this series initially by way of another Dutch romance, Anne+and its star and creator, Hanna Van Vliet, but at this point, I’m ready to watch a full feature starring nearly any contributor to this project. Foremost, I admire how outside the typical romance box the episode stride. Sure, there’s your widower who learns to love again thanks to his three sons and a workaholic athlete who gets caught up in somebody else’s extramarital affair. But there’s also a lesbian couple deciding whether and how to have kids with a co-parenting best friend, open relationships that include partners’ partners and their kids, a father starting an entirely new family after losing his first, and a love story involving a partner who becomes disabled.

This great breadth of the human experience feels special to witness. It makes each of its stories seem entirely every-day. Nobody’s casting aspersions on any of these love stories from the outside. Especially in the open relationship episode, the only person making judgments of anybody is the main character unto himself for his difficulty accepting the situation that his wife, his wife’s partner’s wife, and even his kids to an extent have accepted as not only normal but healthy and beautiful. When the husband and kids receive a call to rush to the hospital after an accident involving his wife and her partner, they’re met first by some comedic tension. Still, ultimately, no judgment is passed by the nurses or anybody else in the hospital.

What I admire most about this episode, though, and each episode in its own similar ways, is that this is a story of non-monogamy that looks nothing like any I’ve seen on screen before. It’s not about gay men looking to increase or improve their sex lives. And it’s not about some uber-liberal stereotypes who want to screw the patriarchy. It’s about a family, with kids and mutual respect and adoration across the relationship’s partners. It’s such a simple idea and so liberating to witness on-screen that I’m actually shocked I’ve never encountered it before as a genuine form of love and not merely the butt of a joke. And the same is true of Modern Love Amsterdam’s encounters with queer co-parenting and loving through grief and loss; there is no formula for love, and all of its forms are valid when all parties are in enthusiastic consent with one another.

Each episode offers a slightly different direction too. The first episode offers a slight element of magical realism that gives humor to an otherwise glib situation. A later episode uses dialogue-less flashbacks set in a slight sepia adds a huge dramatic effect. That each story has a slightly different timbre made me excited to click on each one as soon as the last was finished.

Modern Love Amsterdam is a beautiful anthology demonstrating a spectrum of queer, non-traditional, and emotional loves.

Modern Love Amsterdam is streaming on Prime Video on December 16.


Modern Love Amsterdam
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    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

Modern Love Amsterdam is a beautiful anthology demonstrating a spectrum of queer, non-traditional, and emotional loves.

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