“The Romantic” is a feature length animated film by Michael P. Heneghan, telling the story of a man, Romance, who falls out of love with his girlfriend. Thinking that it is not natural, and not wanting to stay out of love, he travels to the Goddess of Love to see if she can force him to love again. She reluctantly helps him, warning him that it’s a bad idea. When he returns home, he comes across his girlfriend with another man, and his anger becomes insatiable as he vows to rid his world of the gods Love, Hate and Time.
Or at least I think that’s how it goes. Honestly, the story is a little bit all over the place. I know that Romance sets out to kill his world’s gods, and in the meantime allegories about religion and philosophy play out simultaneously. Lots of ideas are expressed, some that are explored, others just dropped into the proceedings. The gods themselves are not as simple or obvious as they seem, and their back story is just a layered as Romance’s. As I said, lots of ideas.
“The Romantic” is a flat-out artistic trip. The imagery brings to mind “Yellow Submarine,” though not as psychedelic, mixed with Picasso, though not as abstract. It is a style all its own, and it is all-out crazy. You get the impression Heneghan was a fan of fantasy books, maybe a bit of a philosopher, sketched a lot of random doodles and then thought, “hey, I should make something of this.” The film is a hodge-podge, but it is an entertaining one, and in an age where the Bill Plymptons of the world are few and far between amid the landscape of CGI-animated Pixar-wannabes, it is heartening to see such an original, and independent, animated feature film.