Amazon’s Loving Til It Hurts is a six-episode dramatic mini-series that focuses on domestic abuse and sexual harassment. It features a primarily African-American cast and plays more like a Latinx telenovela than an American soap, though that’s the basic vibe.
Written and directed by Haitian filmmaker Luner Eugene, the show presents critical issues for women dealing with emotional and physical abuse. The story follows Floret (Shawntaria Franklin) whose husband Franc (Wil Jackson) is abusive towards her. Employing a dramatic framing structure, Eugene tracks Floret’s evolution from a helpless victim to an empowered woman with a reliable support network. She is realistically depicted as hesitant to acknowledge the problem, and reluctant to act. At first, she still wants to believe in Franc and the marriage.
Floret must face the fact that she’s a lonely, unhappy housewife, who’s always been loving and generous to her husband. Franc is struggling with many demons, including alcohol, and has emotionally abandoned her. Drinking doesn’t explain everything, however, as we learn when the story unfolds. Franc was once, perhaps, a good person, but has become a monster over time.
“…tracks Floret’s evolution from a helpless victim to an empowered woman with a reliable support network.”
Complicating Floret’s situation is her old flame, Omar (Michael Sanon). Their back-and-forth flirting reminds her how light-hearted love can be. Omar, charming though he is, is still an opportunist taking advantage of her depression and failing marriage to ingratiate himself with her. In Floret’s world, men are bad news, and toxic masculinity is the norm.
Eugene takes the story through several extreme turns, including unexpected violent outbursts, that generate enough excitement to keep the viewer from playing Candy Crush while the show is on. The production value is high for the budget. The camera work, sets, and actors are all very attractive.
Kudos to Eugene for making an entertaining series that also serves as a window into women dealing with deep dysfunction in relationships, and an object lesson on how abuse happens with options for managing an abusive situation.
Loving Till It Hurts was originally produced as a web series and is now available on Amazon Prime.