Writer: Col Spector and Radha Chakraborty
Director: Col Spector
A very British love story, I’m Not in Love explores monogamy and commitment in the 21st century. When endless options are just a click or scroll away, this comedy asks whether marriage is still relevant?
This question is channelled through Rob Lloyd (played by Grantchester’s Al Weaver). In his thirties, working as a nutritionist, Rob is living with Marta (Cristina Catalina). Their relationship has been ticking along nicely for a few years, but Marta confides to her friend that she wants more commitment from Rob – a proposal, children. Rob, coming home from work, overhears this conversation.
Co-written and directed by Col Spector, I’m Not in Love sets out the differences between the couple early. As they get up for work, Rob listens to the latest science news on the radio, and Marta is introduced as someone with clearly defined religious beliefs. While these divisions may seem rudimentary, Spector makes the wider point that it is Rob who is unwilling to take a leap of faith.
Rob’s reaction to Marta’s need for commitment is panic. His friend Chris (Morgan Watkins) lets slip that Rob’s ex-girlfriend, Taylor, has returned to the UK from Australia. Knowing that Rob is already dating Marta, Chris encourages him to make a date with Taylor (Rosalind Eleazar). They meet up for a drink, and in a brilliantly written scene, it becomes apparent that Rob and Taylor have very different takes on their relationship.
Rob turns to his circle of friends for advice. Unlike Chris, Sunil (Sunil Patel) and Jon (Jack Whitam) are married with kids. The dialogue between the men – freely admitting they’ve paired up with women who will take them – is sharply observed. They encourage Rob to recognise what a catch Marta is. Chris, the perpetual bachelor, pushes Rob to see what else is out there.
With a narrative full of twists and turns, what really anchors the film is the dialogue; it is packed with observational comedy and one-liners. When shopping for an engagement ring, Rob is asked what style he would like – “just the general look” is the reply.
I’m Not in Love doesn’t set itself up to be a rival to the Richard Curtis stable of rom-coms – the film’s forensic look at men and women’s expectations of love is bitingly honest. It asks its protagonist some uncomfortable questions, and not of all them are resolved when the credits roll. Rob’s dilemma is never treated lightly, and the film resists the urge to take a moral stance. By extension, we are left wondering, when it comes to love, how far we would be willing to negotiate.
Available Now on Digital Download