top of page


Love Hurts

average rating is 3 out of 5


James Learoyd


Posted on:

Feb 18, 2024

Film Reviews
Love Hurts
Directed by:
Søren Bregendal, Hannah Madeleine
Written by:
Hannah Madeleine
Søren Bregendal, Hannah Madeleine, Julie Baastrup, Thomas Karottki

Love Hurts is a bizarre short comedy that tells a self-contained, one-scene story. Opting to use its 5-minute runtime to depict comical acts of violence within the space of an acting audition, the film is a satire of sorts; a sardonic take on the entertainment industry and abuse of power. Taking on a lighter tone, however, the piece feels out of balance with its own content / message – a viewer may even be rendered uncomfortable by its unusual sense of humour. This can, in some instances, be an intelligent – even transgressive – way of presenting ostensibly dark subject matter, but here, one can’t decide whether to wince, laugh or think.


Before we dissect tone, let’s first draw our attention to what the film does successfully (and there are many examples): for instance, I feel compelled to praise the acting featured throughout, for without its particular brand of expressive melodrama, any sense of the satirical would risk being lost on an audience. The performances (by many of the creatives behind the film) display a clear understanding of the very specific kind of comedy intended – playing up every emotion to a cartoonish degree – which is more than commendable in a story so reliant on the viewer being in on the joke.


For clarity, allow me to explain that this work more than achieves a baseline level of watchability, due to two important reasons... for all intents and purposes, it sounds nice, and it looks nice. This is no small feat! Every shot is (for the most part) thoughtfully composed, in focus, and consisting of a pleasing, crisp, contrasty sheen -- although it would have been nice to incorporate a little more colour. The audio is technically proficient, as is the editing. There are a couple unsuccessful directorial decisions here and there (the staging / camera placement occasionally feels off in relation to the space); however, the filmmakers display clear talent: the ability to send a visual message as well as a passion for how they structure their story.


So, with such formal skill, the make or break of whether Love Hurts is a successful exercise really comes down to tone once again... in particular, how the audience chooses to perceive the film’s idiosyncrasies (it may very well work for some yet not others). Namely, when a character is being repeatedly slapped as another character screams ‘Love hurts! Love hurts!’, how many will take the moment at face value, and how many will engage in the absurdism of it all? It’s difficult to say, but you can conclude that the tone is not wholly consistent.


As we all know, comedy is subjective – and satire or parody, even more so. One doesn’t doubt that Love Hurts is attempting to deconstruct the lengths people will go to make it into the entertainment industry, in addition to creating a portrait of unhealthy, misogynistic dynamics within a creative arena. It proves to be a mixed bag: the filmmakers clearly have a great deal to say, I’m just not sure that comedy was the right way to say it; or, at least, not this brand of comedy.

About the Film Critic
James Learoyd
James Learoyd
Short Film, World Cinema
bottom of page