‘Strangely in Love’ Review

By Jeff Rhodes

While Heartland Film Festival was in town I wanted to see a good comedy that could make me really laugh. I found Strangely in Love. Written and directed by Amin Matalqa, the movie is adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s White Nights. The movie is about Fyo,a socially awkward loner, who falls in love with a beautiful blind girl named Nastenka. Nastenka is inconsolable after the love of her life Steve goes to Africa to do missionary work. Fyo and Nastenka meet under less than ideal circumstances as Nastenka is trying to hang herself from a tree because of Steve and Fyo unknowingly helps her until he figures out what she is doing. Fyo automatically falls in love with Nastenka and tries to help her with her Steve issues.

     This film is a great overall romantic comedy. When I attended the screening of the film, Amin Matalqa was there to say a few words before the movie started. He said that he was heavily influenced by Charlie Chaplin and wanted to combine White Nights with a Chaplin-ish feel, he accomplished his goal. From the very start of the film you can see that influence. Between the beautiful score and the way Fyo walked around in the beginning, the film had the essence of an old school film from the early 1900’s. Gradually as the film goes on, the feel turns more modern as the characters develop and the plot gets more in depth. The film is more like a modern day romantic comedy right down to the sappy ending.

The score is one of the main reasons I liked this movie so much. The score sets the tone of the movie from the very start. In the beginning, there is very little dialogue and the score is playing throughout. It went so well with the movie that it could’ve been a silent film, the score played just as big apart of the movie as the acting and the directing did.

The cast is what really makes this movie a good comedy the two stars of the film, Jemuel Morris and Michelle Lang, did an amazing job. Morris portrayal of Fyo was more than convincing. His posture and pattern of speech really made the character more realistic. Michelle Lang’s performance as the blind Nastenka was comedy gold. The way she delivered her lines made them funnier than the actual joke was. The funniest jokes came from the fact that she was blind or her characters personality in general. Even though they aren’t know by the general public I was impressed by Morris and Lang’s work. The other character’s sister Sarah and Steve were played by Amanda Plummer and Sean Carrigan. Amanda Plummer has been in projects like Pulp Fiction and  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and many more. Although I didn’t really find her character all that necessary, Plummer gave a great comedic performance as the crazy bipolar nun. Carrigan, who was on Young and the Restless, played Steve. Carrigan played the role of the muscular, cocky, missionary very well. He had this weird accent that made him very comical. When he professes his love in the that strange southern accent it makes it hard to take him seriously and makes it fun to watch.

Overall it was a funny and enjoyable movie. It was a nice break from all the other comedies in mainstream Hollywood today. The jokes were subtle but hilarious and random. Strangely in Love is your typical boy meets girl romantic comedy and the ending is pretty predictable, but I recommend it if you want a nice film that makes you genuinely laugh without crudeness and profanity.

Verdict: Great
Positives: Great score, great comedy from the two stars.
Negatives: A bit a sappy ending.