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‘The Second Sun’ review: Romantic drama does everything it should

But is it enough?

Audiences have certain expectations when it comes to romantic dramas. For example, anyone who watches is willing to accept a certain degree of coincidence and luck. The Second Sun is a love story that takes this trope a little too far. This may end up ruining the enjoyment of its otherwise serviceable tale.

Max (John Buffalo Mailer) is a World War II combat medic and Holocaust survivor who tries to put a positive spin on life despite the rough circumstances he has encountered. Joy (Eden Epstein) is a dressmaker who is filled with sadness. Their personalities clash but they are also bashert (the Yiddish word for “meant to be”.)

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The Second Sun never attempts to surprise its audience. It tells a story of heartbreak and love and is aimed directly at fans of the romantic genre. This is not a movie that asks anyone to step out of their wheelhouse. Even then, in order for the movie to succeed it needs to have enduring characters and backdrops.

The story introduces its characters in two ways: through lots of conversation and through flashbacks. The Second Sun was adapted for a stage play and it shows. There is a lot of talking and everything takes place mainly in one setting. This gives the feel of a lackadaisical pace that does not always fit the story. There is passion to be found (Max and Joy are soulmates, after all), but things move a little too methodically at times.

The flashbacks bring a little more energy to The Second Sun. The switch to black and white adds atmosphere to the stories. It is also a welcome escape to somewhere different. They also do a better job of conveying the mood first time director Jennifer Gelfer seems to be going for. At times, the movie seems to be an homage of the films from decades ago. 

The dialogue is where most of the heavy lifting is done. This is the case of most romantic dramas and is especially true here. Depending on a person’s mileage, it is either very witty and romantic or too overbearing and corny. Again, this will all depend on how much of a fan of the genre a person is.

The Second Sun is a romantic drama that wants to tug at heartstrings. Its story is a simple one. Two people who are meant to be together meet and share their stories of woe. Before long, they are in love. Fans of romantic dramas should be pleased, but others will not be attracted.

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