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With Love and A Major Organ

This drama directed by Kim Albright and written by Julia Lederer that played on the closing afternoon of the Boston Underground Film Festival can be summed up by a comment from the person sitting next to me once the lights came back up after the credits “this movie made me feel my feelings”. WITH LOVE AND A MAJOR ORGAN is about love, the absence of love inside oneself, and the need for external love. This takes place in an alternate universe where a person’s heart is an object which can be removed, stored, hidden away, or given to someone else. Without a heart, a person can go on living for a time, but eventually their insides shrivel up, turn to sand, and they die. This small and simple anatomical bit of science fiction, similar to other dramas about love like TiMER is such a useful and effective tool in storytelling and personally I’d like to see more of it done as well as it is in this film.

Anabel (Anna Maguire) is an artist struggling with love in a world similar to our own where everyone is on their phones and apps are now making major decisions for their owners. She has a day job at an insurance company that specializes in policies for people who have lost access to their digital assets (one customer lost their entire cloud access and was devastated). She sits next to her best friend who is terminally addicted to the technology in her life, even letting it make wedding plans on her behalf.

One day Anabel meets George (Hamza Haq) and is immediately smitten with this emotionally stilted man. She creates a tape for him, spilling her feelings and receiving a terse, negative response in return, causing her to rip out her own heart and send it to George in a little red cooler, instructing him to care for her heart, because it is fragile. He takes the heart and inserts it in himself (throwing away his own heart in the process), and immediately begins to feel things he hadn’t before. He takes up a lot of the habits of Anabel including art. Overcome with emotion he decides to literally run away with Anabel’s heart, which takes him to a cabin in the woods that used to be owned by Anabel’s mother. Without giving away the ending, and only giving you the broad strokes here, I hope that I’m doing the story justice because it was an incredibly poignant piece of self-reflective cinema. I can’t imagine anyone watching this movie that couldn’t identify with something shown on the screen.

The acting is wonderful with Anna Maguire channeling a young Jessica Hynes (from her “Spaced” days) as an artistic, sensitive, and poetic woman with a deep longing for human connection. Hamza Haq’s turn as George was equally heartbreaking and heartwarming as he went from a near automaton of himself to a person that you could see was hiding inside finally coming out of his shell to be his true self. It was interesting to see the objects that made up people’s hearts. Anabel’s being a lantern makes perfect sense for her character, as she is a bright shining light compared to those around her. It also speaks to her search for deeper connections with people. George’s is equally as fitting, although I don’t want to spoil you with what it is, but the audience got a chuckle when it was revealed at the screening.

Everything about this film is designed to be deeply felt. The lighting changes, the music, the overall aesthetic of certain scenes. All of it is meant to evoke something inside the audience. Originally, this movie was based on a stage play, and you can see the vestiges of that still in the DNA of the film. The director, and also the cinematographer Leonardo Harim did a great job of translating this to the screen.

With Love and A Major Organ
Reviewed as part of the 2024 Boston Underground Film Festival
With Love and a Major Organ | March 12, 2023 (United States) Summary: In an alternate world where hearts are made of objects and suppressing emotions is self-care, a lonely woman rips out her own heart for the man she loves, only to discover that he has run aw... Read all
Countries: CanadaLanguages: English
Directing
Screenplay
Cinematography
Sound
Acting
4.6

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