Love at Large

This has become not only my favorite Alan Rudolph film, but one of my favorite films, period. I find the mix of 30s screwball comedy, 40s film noir, and 80s notions about love and dating so odd yet ingratiating. It reflects a very personal affection for genre cinema and a desire to connect it to real life—or maybe that's a desire to enhance the tribulations of real life (neuroses, messy relationships, etc.) with the pleasures of genre cinema. The banter is wonderful; some exchanges make me grin from ear to ear no matter how many times I hear them. ("What makes you so sure he has two families?" "Because most bigamists do.")

I also love Rudolph's affection for the scenic parts of North America that rarely get attention from movies—places like the farmland of Nevada and Portland, Oregon, before the hipster eruption. Like Jacques Demy, Rudolph uses colorful locations as if they were sets, and this suggests, again, an all-pervading cinephilia that extends into the world at large.

Interesting how the principal characters of LOVE AT LARGE are cartoon neurotics while the families they get embroiled with seem (from the glimpses we get of them) like much richer, darker individuals. The film takes place over just several days, and while Rudolph doesn't make a big deal of what we don't know about the characters, these mysteries make them more compelling.