Tru Love, written and directed by Kate Johnston and Shauna MacDonald, is the unlikely story of how three women’s paths intersect, if only for a brief moment, to change each others’ lives for the better.
Although not without heartache and the strife of grappling with buried contentions, Tru Love describes the opportunities that come along all too rarely, the opportunities that give us the option to be vulnerable and open to the swift rhythm of another’s heartbeat or to close ourselves off and continue living within the constraints of our insecurities.
Alice, played by Kate Trotter, has recently lost her husband and decides to visit her daughter, Suzanne (Christine Horne), in the big city. Suzanne, who’s determined to make partner as a corporate lawyer, simply can’t find the time to spend with her mother so she appoints her friend Tru (Shauna MacDonald), to “babysit” Alice while she’s working. The 60-year-old widow and Tru, a 37-year-old love ‘em and leave ‘em-type lesbian, form an unlikely bond that grows into the possibility of a relationship.
Tru Love opens with a close-up shot of cold waters and broken ice sweeping past a moving ferry, which we later learn is the only way to get to Tru’s home, across the dark waters of a freezing bay. We learn that one might view the breaking ice as a breaking of boundaries, as a breaking down of social norms and a shattering of stereotypes. As the sharp winter sun glints off the water, one might see the picture as just a pretty introduction, yet we later learn of its significance throughout the film.
Alice’s patient curiosity for the harsh details of Tru’s past allow Tru to open up in a way she usually avoids with her other partners. While a caustic childhood and adolescence still have Tru living her life fearfully, Alice allows her to confront her past so that she can move forward.
In accordance, Tru gives Alice the autonomy to take off the cloak of her confining marriage to live freely, making choices for her own happiness and not her daughter or deceased husband. Unfortunately, Suzanne’s complicated relationship with both Tru and her mother encourage her to question and sabotage their relationship.
Toward the end of the film, when all is said and done, Suzanne and her mother converse by the front window. Suzanne seems almost incredulous and demands, “How could you just lose yourself like that?” Alice responds with a calm composure and says, “Lose myself, find myself, it’s all the same in the end.” Such wise words, directed toward her career-obsessed daughter, perhaps bounce off the hardened exterior of the young woman’s insecurities, yet satisfy an audience who understands that Alice does not need her daughter’s approval, she has found peace with herself through Tru’s kindred soul.
Tru Love is a film for all audiences, conveying a timeless message through a series of unique circumstances, a message that says true love is a connection between two souls that transcends age, gender, the body, and of course the boxes even our most loved ones use to contain us within.
True love is a freedom for the wearers, allowing the two beings to be free of concern, to be alive and vibrant in the moment. True love is a crumbling of the masks we wear to survive this scathing world of insecure beings, driven to judge others in an attempt to disguise their own imagined misgivings. While the film’s concept is anything but new, MacDonald and Johnston tell the story with such honesty that one cannot help but be moved by each character.
Tru Love will close this year’s QFilms, which runs Friday, September 12 through Sunday, September 14 at the Art Theatre and LGBTQ Center, both located on 4th Street between Cherry and St. Louis Avenues. This film will screen on Sunday, September 14 at 7:30PM at the Art Theatre.
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Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her on Twitter and Instagram @theasiamorris and via email at [email protected]
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