The Progress of Love
"The Progress of Love' is a warm and often moving exploration of the nature and shape of romantic love. In a series of extended conversations three women describe the progress of their romantic life through the years and share the outcomes of their hopes, dreams, and fears in their relationships with men. Various experts add their perspective on the scientific and psychological underpinnings of love. The movie is framed by the famous series of paintings 'The Progress of Love,' by the French Rococo artist Jean Honore Fragonard.
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The film follows a famous French painter's works, in a four-painting series in sequential form, titled "The Progress Of Love". As each painting is described, we are introduced to the five women who are being interviewed. In segments, they give their own unique perspective on romantic love in relationships.
Combining various ages, decades, careers and cultures, we meet these women who bring the most intriguing insight to their storytelling. They are all animated and resourceful. I was completely engaged with their different relationship situations.
I found Professor Gordon G. Gallup Jr. (Professor of Evolutionary Psychology) extremely knowledgeable and incredibly scientific with the human mind and it's reasoning. This man is in no way a stuffy kind of educator. As J. Parks speaks with him, throughout his office are VCR players, tapes, books and papers. He is heavily immersed in test results, data collection, chromosomes with genetic coding and is able to relate this in a clinical way to a layperson.
Dr. Gallup handles the evolvement of the human mind, reproduction science and the 'deception' we are involved in of whether our psychology is 'hardwired' or 'intentional'. I learned the most from him in his informative testimonial throughout the interviews with the women.
Dr. Marie Burns (Therapist) presents a very personable feel to this. Teaching us, 'as far as love goes'; "We all come from our own families, and so we seek out what is familiar", as quoted from Harville Henricks.
Many provocative questions are raised for discussion (with the two doctors and the women interviewed by Parks):
1.) Does love endure after the death of the beloved?
2.) Why are women so influenced by flowers? Why are men also?
3.) Is love truly blind?
4.) Is love dangerous? And is love a destructive force also?
5.) Does jealousy belong in loving?
6.) Is love fate or choice? Among other topics.
A thought provoking documentary by Parks. It asks mindful questions and sets out to answer them in the clinical and with a heart.
As noted, Parks is a first-time filmmaker and the viewer will therefore need to cut him a bit of slack (in this reviewer's opinion, some of the interview footage included is a bit dull and the film could've easily been cut twenty minutes shorter with no real loss.) But aside from that, the earnest and sincere enthusiasm shown by Parks and all seven of his interviewees make "The Progress Of Love" tremendous fun to watch (sort of like reality TV for mature adults with a longer attention span.)
Highly recommended. Five stars.