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Photo: HBO Max

Television

Love Life: First Impressions

HBO Max’s first live-action scripted series follows a young twenty something trying to find love and herself in NYC.

There are high expectations for the upcoming romantic comedy anthology, Love Life. It serves as one of the launch titles for Warner Media’s anticipated streaming service, HBO Max, and is the only live-action scripted series from the group. Not to mention, the show marks the first time Anna Kendrick stars in a full-length television series. Is it worth the hype?

Love Life boasts a fresh take on rom-coms by following a different protagonist each season and focusing on one of their relationships each episode from the first love to the last. We meet Darby Carter (Kendrick), a young woman fresh out of college living in New York trying to find her own way and a good man.

Despite the fresh new take, the show does recycle many familiar tropes. Anything you can think of from the genre including a first real love, an older man, one-night stands and the high school crush are all covered in the ten-episode season. However, the cast does a good job selling the drama and making it feel believable. It can be painful to watch at times and definitely emotional but that’s what love can do to people.

It could get stale watching Darby search for her soulmate unsuccessfully most of the season so it was a pleasant surprise that not all the relationships showcased are of the romantic variety. It was unexpected to find those few episodes peppered in but they provided something different and still kept with the overall theme of love.

Love Life 2
Photo: Zach Dilgard/HBO Max

In Love Life, Kendrick has an excellent vehicle to feature her talent. She can be equally charming, funny and touching when appropriate and she develops great chemistry with the people that come in and out of Darby’s life. The viewer feels invested in her emotional journey as it unfolds before them and as she grows and matures out of young adulthood.

The various relationships help mold Darby in the different stages of her life and you see how good can sometimes come out of heartbreak. She may not be someone who is always a good person but the story and Kendrick’s portrayal at least present relatable situations that you can understand the lead’s poor decisions without considering her completely foolish. Darby never comes off as hateable or hopeless and you do want to root for her despite some of her flaws.

Love Life may not be the exclusive original that will entice lots of people to sign up for HBO Max. Nonetheless, it is a high quality, well-acted series with an amiable lead that fits with the HBO Brand as Warner Media branches out into the streaming industry.

The first three episodes of Love Life premiere May 27 on HBO Max.

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