Cinematic Releases: D-Love (2017) Reviewed

Husband and wife Dave Rogers and Elena Beuca were returning from a European vacation when they came upon a strange young man at the airport.  The young man, an earthy Danish vagabond named Ditlev, was just looking for a ride, but soon found himself welcomed into the couple's home.  He only stayed with them four days, but he left quite an impression on the couple, one that would change them individually and as a couple forever.  Rogers (who wrote the screenplay) and Beuca (who directed) have turned their story into the new release, the award-winning D-Love.

In addition to working behind the camera, Beuca and Rogers also play their cinematic counterparts Stefania and Dan Michaels.  The film's title comes from the nickname given to the drifter (who also plays himself in the film) by Dan, who quickly strikes up a friendship with their guest.  Stefania is a bit more apprehensive; the couple has had a pretty rough go of things lately, and the last thing she needs is a mysterious stranger causing more problems.  D-Love's relaxed hippie world view appeals to the troubled couple, and the longer he stays the bigger his impact ultimately is.  But just by reading this review, much less seeing the character's introduction in the film, you might have already guessed that.

The emotional beats in D-Love are genuinely poignant but feel a bit watered down, particularly as the film goes on.  But the predictability of D-Love works both ways in a strange sort of way.  It is frustrating to watch a film where you can consistently and with reasonable accuracy guess what's going to happen next.  However, as predictable films go, D-Love is about as harmless as a Hallmark Channel movie.  D-Love is cinematic comfort food: you know exactly what you're going to get from it, and it's probably not going to enrich you in a helpful way, but it will certainly make you feel good inside for a little while.

It's easy to guess what will happen throughout the entirety of D-Love, but it's just as easy to let go and be swept away by the warm fuzzies.  Beuca and Rogers' story is simple but engaging, and the couple, both first-time writer and directors, have done a respectable job turning it into a film.  While D-Love himself is no natural actor, the talented couple give honest, emotional performances certainly helped by having experienced many of the tribulations of their characters.  D-Love doesn't tell a unique or surprising story, but the emotional rawness of the leads, not to mention their writing and directing talent, make for the kind of surprisingly heavy but ultimately feel-good watch that's perfect for a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon.


-Mike Stec