Angst-driven love story loses teeth after first bite
There’s something about watching Downton Abbey that is even more interesting than watching Mad Men. Seeing Don Draper seek out personal pleasure at all costs is fairly relatable to us 21st centurians, but the people of early 20th century England are fascinating in that they seem to value self-sacrifice and honor above their own desires. What a difference a few generations has made. For a good read about it, try Chicago’s very own Laura Kipnis’ Against Love: A Polemic. Like Craig Wright’s Orange Flower Water, it’s a pointed commentary on the schizoid break that occurs when we try to reconcile our ideals of self satisfaction with responsibility. Kipnis sees adultery sympathetically—a covert culture war waged by people who have the ultimate buyer’s remorse. Orange Flower Water seems at least partly in tune with Kipnis as it messily breaks apart two couples to make a new one. It’s too bad then that, despite all the (sometimes) pointed insights into the secret regrets of our binary society, it loses its nerve and a chance to make a real statement.
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