I’m Not In Love is a cynical English comedy that retreads a path that was blazed and worn out long ago.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Thirty-something man-child Rob (Al Weaver) lives with his girlfriend Marta (Cristina Catalina). He’s emotionally stunted, his development arrested by a protracted adolescence spent in the pub “with ‘is mates,” as they would say in London. The long-suffering, dutiful Marta is more grown-up. She is emotionally intelligent, seeks to improve the world with her presence, and looks for the best in people all around her.
They’ve been together for some time, and Marta is keen to get to the marriage and children part of the show. She sees her friends having weddings and babies, and her best friend is constantly railing about Rob being a sh*theel for not making it happen. Marta begins to push Rob, insisting that it’s time to propose, and the story focuses on how he will deal with this implied ultimatum.
“Marta begins to push Rob, insisting that it’s time to propose…”
When Rob does propose to her, it’s clear that he’s capitulating to the pressure, and she’s livid with him for not making it a fairytale-style romantic gesture. Her narcissism is nearly as breathtaking as his. This entire way of thinking is not only cliched, but it’s also horrifically sexist. The notion that only a man can propose, that it’s his duty in the social order to do so and that a woman is essentially chattel owned and operated by whatever Peter Pan jackass she foolishly moved in with is the worst kind of old-country nonsense.
Every character in I’m Not In Love follows a cultural script that was tired long ago, and it doesn’t seem like anyone is on the road to personal satisfaction. Marta wants kids because that’s the next checkbox on her project plan. There’s no real indication that raising children is what she wants. It’s just that she’s got serious bio-clock FOMO about it, without actually spending any time considering if that’s what her life should be.
Co-writer/director Col Spector goes out of his way to illustrate how completely unhappy Rob’s friends are as husbands and parents. They are scornful of him for being reluctant to join that club. They impress upon him that it’s totally normal, and he should be very grateful to be married and miserable like they are, and not some single sad bastard in his forties wishing he’d been appropriately dissatisfied in his thirties.
"…a pro-marriage cautionary tale."