This film was recently added on Prime, and it is certainly worth watching. I have to say I haven’t seen a film addressing love in such an imaginative way for a long time.
In other words, the film addresses love from philosophical, ethical and an emotional point of view. Therefore, we follow a life of David (Joshua Mikel) who falls in love with Abby (Avery Kristen Pohl) when they were children. David can hear all noises and create what he perceives as music, however, this ‘music’ is not what an average ear can hear, which is pretty much just an excessive noise.
David continues to record his music and we follow him to college where he walks around with a microphone and a recorder taping all sounds, including people walking by. Obviously, he looks creepy when he follows people with a microphone and the society generally sees him as a freak. However, one day he comes to discover that each individual has its own music due to sounds our body produces. What is more, David figures out the formula of love chemistry, because people fall for each other based on body ‘music’ that we all have.
David and his flatmate Mark (Sergio Soltero) start recording this music, and in that they search for Abby’s boyfriends to figure out what attracted her to them. David then records the music of her boyfriends and creates similar ‘music’ to attract Abby to him. The formula works and Abby walks away from her boyfriend almost like a zombie, and falls into David’s arms. David continues to see her but this is where the main message of the movie gets disclosed, i.e. she is confused and miserable every time he is not playing the music questioning how she ended up leaving her relationship for him, clearly struggling to explain this new (occasional) attraction. Every time she is about to end the relationship, David plays the music and she falls for him again.
However, David starts discussing his behaviour with Mark from an ethical point of view, questioning whether he should be doing that and whether there is a point in forcing people to like you when they only do so when the fake music is on. This is how we learn we can only have a love chemistry naturally for love is not something we can earn or steal. Love is what happens. In addition, we learn how to make ethical choices and justify our actions, i.e. something I am actually teaching in my Communication Ethics module based on a variety of academic sources on ethics and ethical thinking (see e.g. Bivins, 2004).
David at first lives in an illusion that Abby will continue to see him without music now when she got to know him (after he admitted what he did), but as Abby walks away with an accusation of trying to control her, David sends her flowers with a signature from her boyfriend and a letter to her boyfriend explaining what happened to put the couple back together. He attempts to destroy the machine at the grave of his late grandfather who always told him to listen to people and be patient in waiting for things to happen rather than forcing them, but Mark stops him explaining how much the invention could help the world, and this is how the film ends.
The film is more than what I have described. It is very mystical, philosophical and poetical. We can feel the pain of an unreturned love, which is something everyone has experienced at some point in life. The only time in my life when I was able to feel emotions in this way was with ‘Almost famous’ when Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) said “I always tell the girls never take it seriously, if you never take it seriously you never get hurt, if you never get hurt you always have fun, and if you ever get lonely just go to the record store and visit your friends.”
There are some really good ethical and philosophical debates between David and Mark, however, the film is even more than this for it also has some action when one of David’s professors tries to sell his invention to a large corporation who then chases David.
This is the first time I have seen the work of FC Rabbath but I will certainly check out his other movies (see here) especially since bloggers who know his work also praised ‘Listen III’ (see also here)
Thank you for reading.
Bivins, H. (2004). Mixed Media: Moral Distinctions in Advertising, Public Relations, and Journalism. London: Routledge.