I have been enamored with the idea of love since I was a little girl. But, what if love isn’t the way I feel after I listen to the live version of “Crazy Beautiful” that Andy Grammer played in Boston or the way my eyes light up when I think of the person or object of my love?
What if love is hard?
What if love isn’t a romanticized feeling that Hollywood often depicts? What if love-is in fact- hard, messy and complex?
What if truly loving something means letting it go, or in “El Chivo” from the Spanish film Amores Perros (Love is a Bitch) case it means seeing your daughter grow up from a distance?
The film depicts the complexities of love. It depicts “El Chivo” as a man who went to prison when his daughter was 2-years-old. In an attempt to save his daughter from the shame of having a father in prison, he let her believe he was dead. When he is released from prison he tracks down his daughter and saves any money he earns to give to her. A hired hit-man, El Chivo breaks down when he confesses to his daughter,
“Not one day has passed that I have not thought of you.”
El Chivo’s reaction to his daughter explores a human element to all of us. It shows that even a hired hit man and violent offender understands in his or her own way the complexities of love.
Amores Perros explores seemingly taboo topics on love: an interrelated love triangle, dysfunctional sibling relationships, the vain foundation of some relationships and how, in this film at least, all of these stories intertwine with one another.
The love triangle between the two brothers, Ramiro and Octavio, and Ramiro’s wife, Susana begins when Octavio becomes frustrated with the way his brother treats Susana. Ramiro verbally and physically abuses his wife while Octavio steps in to defend, protect and provide for her. Susana initially dismisses Octavio’s advances, but eventually succumbs to having an affair and planning to runaway with Octavio.
Then, there is the story of Daniel and Valeria. Daniel leaves his wife and two daughters for his super-model lover, Valeria. Everything seems to be going well for the couple until Valeria is injured in car accident that initially leaves her wheel-chair bound. The couple work through her injuries, but as Valeria loses a major modeling contract and slips into a depression, Daniel starts backing away. Eventually, Valeria’s leg has to be amputated. Daniel is shown calling his ex-wife and the love he once swore to Valeria seems to be nothing more than a mere bane desire.
What if love isn’t the superficial notions we once grew up believing?
What if it isn’t simply “the spark” we claim to feel when we’re with the one we love, but, rather the willingness to struggle alongside that person?