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By Jeremy Mathews | April 21, 2005

Sitting on the subway on her way to work in the morning, Myra lets a smile slip out. It’s the only time she breaks her stone face until she returns home. This clever and smart woman has created a wall around her life to avoid being hurt because of an intimate familial obligation. Adrienne Weiss’s “Love Ludlow” is a romantic comedy with vivid characters who actually have something to say.

Portrayed by Alicia Goranson as a feisty tough woman from Queens, Myra’s harsh exterior is partly a way to keep people out of her world, which she shares with her mentally disabled brother, Ludlow (Brendan Sexton III), who has the same kind of attachment to her that young children have to their mothers. He waits for her every evening, writing dramatic, Shakespearean suicide letters and growing hungry for Twinkies.

Despite her rudeness, Myra’s clever put downs directed towards some of the more obnoxious people at the office catch the attention of Reggie (David Eigenberg), a loner from out of state whom the film introduces looking at a family house with a real estate agent who first assumes is married, then has kids, then has a girlfriend, then is gay, only to be wrong on all counts. Reggie’s the kind of guy who has a hard time asking someone on a date whether or not they’re confrontational, but he can’t stay away from this woman. The story follows some of the standard breakup/reunite romance structure as the two court in an unexpected way, but comes off better than many films of this type because the characters are dealing with real issues as Ludlow’s lively and hostile behavior catches Reggie off guard.

The key to the successful portrayal of Ludlow and Reggie’s feelings about one another is comedy. Ludlow is incredibly witty and well-read, and his put downs, sometimes shouted from the neighboring room, are quite clever. The characters come across as genuine people, rather than tools of the plot, thanks to the three leads and screenwriter David L. Patterson’s charming dialogue. The only qualm I have with the performances is that Goranson’s Queens accent was distracting at times, but I’m not qualified to say whether or not it was authentic. However, I wouldn’t want to be the one to tell Myra this.

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