Bleeding Love

Bleeding Love
Bleeding Love
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Some things about the father-daughter road trip drama “Bleeding Love” are totally plausible. Why not? With the real father being Ewan McGregor and his daughter being Clara Mathilde McGregor in the lead roles? It was obvious; the pair’s chemistry was familial. And without delving into famous strangers’ private lives too much, some aspects of their dynamic mirror that of the stars: In the movie, he is remarried with kids while his first born daughter stays behind. Her father left her mother last year and he is now married to Mary Elizabeth Winstead who is also an actress and they have one child together.

The absence of character names in this paragraph isn’t an authorial trick; this choice does not originate from them either which may be aimed at making them universal symbols in their own manner. This might also be called a Freudian slip on part of creative team of this film because despite an engaging first hour, it ultimately descends into a series of events that can most generously be described as “archetypal,” or less generously as “trite.”

This movie features a lot of heated drama around addiction but equally important, it involves the issue surrounding estranged parents. As snippets from conversations reveals within its first third section, Father is taking Daughter to a rehab under guise of visiting an artist friend after she nearly died from drug overdose last night. They embark on a journey through America’s Southwest where they meet strange characters like sex worker who believes she can become a Broadway playwright someday or tow truck driver by night astrologer by day towards healing.

“Bleeding Love,” for all its many faults, passes its entire first hour rather quickly given how little really takes place between these two McGregors (Father and Daughter) verbally batting back and forth (while slowly revealing how their characters came to be). The problem with this portion comes when Westenberg tries focusing her camera on one such oddball. As a result, many shots in this film involve one or both McGregors watching things happen with bemused smiles on their faces. They feel like tourists in their own movie, going on an “It’s A Small World” ride of American rural poverty.

There are lots of well-thought-out details in “Bleeding Love,” some there for aesthetic purposes and others that help unveil more about the characters and their world. Again, several of these are good during story build-up but when they finally reveal what they were meant for it leaves one groaning. For example, Westenberg keeps her characters mostly enclosed within Father’s old truck windshield; this is often done through claustrophobic framing until later when wide open spaces around them are revealed as they have learnt some crucial lessons about acceptance and forgivingness.

Technically, this last bit is a spoiler— just not in practice. How would you expect such a story about an ex-addicted father going on a journey with his addicted daughter to end? The second half of “Bleeding Love” does what you might have guessed it would do. It is putting together thoughts that were well developed but failed to bring out anything new in the movie which is “Bleeding Love”; it has some good things but does not make any sense at all. The realistic aspects do not outweigh the clumsy and clichéd ones, leaving it being better off before you know its ending.

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