(1979)

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Love is the Drug for Me !
Dries Vermeulen2 April 2006
When is a porn film not a porn film ? In this case when it's directed by late "real world" celebrity John Derek, a man better known for his marriages to some of the world's most glamorous women (Ursula Andress, Linda Evans and Bo Derek) than for his efforts both in front (ADVENTURES OF HAJJI BABA) and behind (BOLERO) the cameras. LOVE YOU is one of those rare films that straddles the no man's land between pornography and traditional cinema and considerably more erotic than other attempts to do so like Curt McDowell's strangely perverse – or should that be the other way round ? – THUNDERCRACK or Candida Royalle's downbeat science fiction sex saga REVELATIONS.

Of course, not everyone agrees on this assessment. Many a porn critic, including the late and usually great Jim Holliday, has taken the movie to task for lacking the type of sex scenes they assume genre fans want. As my adult film viewing habit nears the quarter century mark, I for one can assure them they're wrong.

One of the reasons I've always enjoyed porno, and I'm sure quite a few others do as well, is the chance of witnessing a moment of truth, when a performer's professional detachment crumbles and the audience is allowed a brief glimpse at the real person underneath. These moments can happen by accident, as is often the case in adult cinema where budgets and production schedules don't always allow re-shooting these "mistakes", or they can be the result of a carefully orchestrated, semi-documentary approach such as here with the line between what is real and what is artistic artifice becoming hard to distinguish.

Derek may display a directorial verve he never managed or bothered to equal in later film-making endeavors (GHOSTS CAN'T DO IT, anyone ?) ; he also had the good fortune to work with a small (just five people) yet extremely talented cast bringing emotional resonance and compassion to their beautifully written parts. As for the film's detractors, perhaps they should just learn to "think outside the box" a bit more.

Two couples decide to spend a weekend together on an island off the California coast with spouse swapping the ultimate goal. Sensitive Charlie (superstar Annette Haven) seems somewhat apprehensive about the whole deal but is gently nudged to participate by husband Steve (Wade Nichols, star of Armand Weston's TAKE OFF). Helicopter pilot Mark (veteran performer Eric Edwards) and especially his fun-loving wife Lynn (adorable Lesllie Bovee) are the quintessential mirror image free spirits who'll loosen them up, with some unexpected results. Looking for lust, everyone ends up finding love instead.

Once the plot is set up, the characters have this constant intimacy that doesn't just start and stop with the sex scenes like too much porn has accustomed us to. There's kissing, caressing, laughter as well as tears. These people are genuinely making love to one another, in character, and when both women achieve very real-looking, non-porno type orgasms as a result of the tenderest group action you've ever witnessed it blurs the borders between performance and reality. Whichever of the two it turns out to be, it's certainly one hell of a turn-on.

Cinematography by Derek himself supplies some of the most breathtakingly beautiful imagery ever captured in erotica, especially the close-ups of Haven's flustered face as she reaches climax. Even the quiet natural beauty of the island can't compete with that ! Both female and male bodies are glorified in rich, glowing colors. A judicious use of close-ups draws attention to a gaze, a touch, an emotional snapshot that hints at something deeper. Little things like Wade Nichols' soulful glances or Lesllie Bovee's lopsided smiles, so seemingly unforced, actually manage to move an old cynic like myself.

Single drawback perhaps, in a stylistic sense, is the inclusion of several fantasy sequences dreamed up by Haven and involving the likes of Paul Thomas and Blair Harris, scenes that are perfectly fine for what they are but interrupt the natural flow of the narrative. Otherwise,rare gems such as LOVE YOU make up for all the mediocrity I've endured over the years. Stay in love, it's the only place to be...
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excellent, tastefully done
steve-42731 May 1999
A familiar plot in which a husband wishes his wife to "swing" but feels threatened when she finally agrees and actually enjoys it. Many beautiful images and fantasy sequences. Many scenes are filmed in very low light. All in all, an excellent film.
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The opening sequence is highly erotic if you like...
imdb-91687 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
It's not clear that this comment constitutes a "spoiler", because relates only to the very opening sequence - and one that is really disconnected from the rest of the film.

The opening scene of naked man chasing a naked woman across a parched desert and then forcing her to service him is arguably the most erotic and beautifully photographed rape scene ever filmed: A close up of the setting sun illuminating a sensuous and drawn out scene of oral sex.

But be forewarned: This scene will offend anyone who shuns the mixture of sex with force (I shy away from the word "violence", but it certainly embodies brute force). For some, the most offensive portion may be the eventual submission and eager participation of the victim, once she realizes that there is no escape. Certainly repugnant to feminists, because they will accurately surmise that this acquiescence is a typical component of male chauvinist fantasy.

Rumor has it that as Derek rose to prominence for directing mainstream films and also became the boy toy of Bo Derek, he tried to buy all copies of this film and suppress the fact that it ever existed. That seems plausible, because so few references to it exist in any database anywhere. The few that you can find in archived listings have been stripped in subsequent updates. It's hard to believe that it was once in general VHS release. Just try to find the film anywhere today.
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7/10
Art Disguised as Porn...
Perception_de_Ambiguity10 October 2011
...usually it's the other way around.

Profound porno that maintains a captivating tone throughout (the score was my favorite aspect of the production) with all the things that most great "regular" films have too, like convincing acting, character development, a coherent plot that builds towards something and a lot of emotion. Lust, doubt, fear, love, jealousy and maybe most importantly hope to escape the known and to transcend into a spiritual world beyond society's moral boundaries.

Unfortunately the film just sort of fizzles out in the end inside a sexual fantasy which is akin to a cinematic coitus interruptus but I guess I'll just have to assume that the main character reached her moment of nirvana when the movie suddenly ends. But that's only a small minus for what comes across as a very honest and idiosyncratic film that is neither your average porno nor your average art-house flick but in many ways a combination of the best of both worlds. Certainly what makes 'Love You' immediately stick out are the gobsmacking visuals which just happen to depict blowjobs and penetration on a beach but it might as well show a knight playing chess with Death on a beach. I'd show you some screenshots but that isn't very well possible in an IMDb review.
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9/10
Very sensual
SCsurfguy10 September 2013
Pretty banal dialogue. But then again, what do you expect, I guess.

However, the love scenes more than make up for it. So sensual. So beautiful. You just want to be there with them.

The guys and their tanned bodies.....so sexy.

Steve is absolutely amazing to look at. Wade Nichols is something else.

Just want to be on the island with him, and him alone.

I think in such an exploration it would have been groovy to see the guys get together a little bit. That would have added another dimension to the film. The wrestling scene was a good start...but still needed more between them.

Very sexy movie.
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2/10
When on deserted island..
Hollywoodshack17 October 2010
Hide more than 10 miles away from these screaming bores, and wait for a rescue boat to arrive instead! Every scene follows this pattern: "Gee, we're all by ourselves naked on this island. Let's explore our primitive and savage emotions together." Wade is Annette's husband, he often says, "Wow, I'm doing it, it's still too soft, help me get a hard-on and hope I won't come to soon and.." you wish to God they could just shut up a minute! During an act of sex, do real people ever talk to each other like this, rarely emoting even a grunt or a groan? I can bet most people can't even say more than one or two words during sex, let alone a complete gestalt therapy dialogue. Leslie Bovee imitates the way Bo Derek (the wife of director John Derek) talks so much that I swear Bo must have dubbed a lot of her lines in for her. John Derek seems to have watched too many John Cassavetes films like Husbands and Patterns, yet emotions are shoved on the back burner too often. Advice to Annette, Eric, Wade, and Leslie: Hold your group therapy encounters on your own private time where no one can be punished by watching your performances.
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