End of Love is a low budget indie affair about a single dad trying to make it after his wife has died. Mark Webber wrote, directed, and starred in the film, but what’s really getting the attention is the performance of his son in the film. That would be his toddler, who plays himself and was never told that he was in a movie. That’s a novel way to get a genuine performance out of a kid, and has been getting all sorts of praise like “searing and honest.”
Here’s the trailer:
And here’s where I vent rage.
Oh this might be searing, but it is the antithesis of honest. This is in its own way a more disturbing and screwed up film than any number of torture porn movies. Those at least were fictional in their portrayal of horror. This is emotional pornography at the expense of a child.
Webber’s wife, and his son’s mother, is still alive and kicking. The kid was just put through weeks of strange people hanging around with cameras rolling while his father acted as if his mother had just died. Weeks of a kid not understanding what the hell was going on in his life other than the fact that his father was acting catastrophically sad. I don’t care that they didn’t feed the kid lies. The fact that they made a film about his responses to his father’s sadness is testament to the kid’s guileless acceptance that if his dad was acting like something was wrong, then something must actually be wrong. Your job is to take care of your kid, to make him feel safe in this fucked up world. Instead, you convinced him the world wasn’t okay and filmed the results. Instead you pretended something terrible had happened in order to get your kid to respond on camera for your fucking movie.
Oh but you got your searing indie movie out of the deal. As exploitative and screwed up as all that Honey-boo-boo reality show crap is with children shoved in front of cameras, at least that material has the fundamental decency to tell the kids involved that they are being used. You have lied to your child and exposed him to infinite sadness so that you can edit his emotions into something to get you into film festivals.
Congratulations, you win asshole father of the year. Here’s your trophy (it’s designed to go up there sideways).