God of Love
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Here’s a short film that, despite its mere 18 minutes, feels full and complete in itself. A minute longer and it might have felt fat and lazy; as it is, writer/director Luke Matheny’s comic romance is a tidy gem.
Shot in gorgeous black-and-white that contributes to the film’s retro vibe, “God of Love” is about a young man named Raymond Goodfellow (Matheny) who performs in a combination jazz trio-magic show. Ray croons jazz standards (in a gorgeous baritone) while performing trick dart stunts in between the stanzas.
Ray has been praying to the Almighty every day — “Dear God whose name I do not know” — to make his drummer, Kelly (Marian Brock), fall in love with him. Alas, Kelly is instead smitten with his bassist/best friend, Fozzie (Christopher Hirsch).
One day a package arrives out of the blue from the Olympus Foundation. It contains a box full of the Love Dart 3000. According to the instructions, anyone struck by a dart will be susceptible to wooing for six hours. If the romantic pitch is strong enough, at the end of this period the love will become permanent.
Not quite convinced, Ray tries a dart out on an acquaintence, and it’s as good as advertised. His next test is to use the darts to attract a harem of admirers for himself. So potent are the Love Darts, these women do not mind sharing Ray so widely between them, since they believe doing so will make him happy.
Resolved, Ray sets about devising the most romantic six hours he can think of, including having his friends decorate his bedroom to resemble “a candlelit Amish barn … you know, like ‘Witness’.”
Wry and clever, “God of Love” is an assured film from a young filmmaker who knows how to craft a complete story. Matheny also has an offbeat but undeniable onscreen charisma, with his horsey smile, puckish stare and mop of black curls. This small film has a huge impact.