Valentine’s Day films: The best romcoms to watchFeb 8 | 4 min read
3 reasons to watch Modern Love - the cosy autumn rom-com that brings the New York Times columns to life
Anne Hathaway, Dev Patel, Cristin Milioti, Tina Fey and John Slattery lead the performance highlights in Amazon’s romantic comedy anthology series, coming soon to Prime Video.
It feels like we haven’t had a show like Modern Love for a long time.
A cross between This Is Us and Love Actually, the Amazon Prime Video show is based on the incredibly popular New York Times Column of the same time - all based on true stories.
Consisting of eight, half an hour standalone episodes, all set in New York, Modern Love is described as a “delicious, easy, lovely dream of a show” - a cosy, comforting rom-com to binge-watch this autumn.
Boasting fantastic performances from cast members including Anne Hathaway, Dev Patel, Cristin Milioti, Tina Fey and John Slattery, you won’t be able to stop watching after a few episodes.
Despite featuring standalone stories, there’s something about the individual Modern Love episodes that make you want to step back into the world after you’ve finished watching. In fact, it’s a shame that there’s only 8 episodes...
BT TV customers can access the Prime Video app, allowing them to sign-up and watch thousands of TV episodes and movies on Amazon.
1. It brings the stories from the Modern Love columns to life
Unlike NBC’s emotional comedy-drama This Is Us, that Modern Love is naturally being compared to, every tale told in Modern Love is based on a true story.
The source material for Amazon’s Modern Love is of course the column of the same name - a collection of crowd-sourced real life stories from its readers.
The columns range from 1500 to 1700 words, and while the letters - plus its spin off podcast - are hugely popular, the TV series really does bring these stories to life.
On paper, we imagine these people as characters in a story, but seeing them on screen makes them feel even more real.
As Amy Amatangelo from Paste writes: “[They’ve] created a series that matches the tone of its source material; there’s a grace, a sweetness, a delightful vibrancy to these episodes.”
For example, the written column on which Episode 1 is based on - When the Doorman Is Your Main Man - is concise, devoid of fluff, getting to the point without going over the word count.
It doesn’t read particularly humorously - but the episode itself is lovely, warm and funny. You can't help but chuckle when Maggie (Cristin Milioti) shows her doorman Guzmin (Laurentiu Possa) her set of baby scans, and he jokes ‘are you expecting quadruplets?’.
Later, when she arrives home with the new baby, cars honking in the NYC traffic, you smile warmly as he exclaims: ‘oh New York, shut up!’
It's fair to say that it's the Amazon TV show that really brings the comedic element to this rom-com series.
2. It’s a cosy, comforting, binge-worthy rom-com
Modern Love has been compared by some critics to consuming a sweet treat - whether it’s a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery or a box of dessert chocolates.
And we can totally see that comparison - it is indeed sweet, saccharine, utterly delectable and totally romantic.
Watching it feels almost like wrapping yourself in a cosy, knitted blanket, warming you from the inside out. Meghan O’Keefe from Decider calls the show “tender, life-affirming, and the storytelling equivalent of a warm hug" while Ariana Romero from Refinery29 says the show is "focused on some form of comfort."
She adds: “Rather than grapple with the difficulties of modern, modern dating, the anthology is a warm blanket of Obama-era optimism.”
But like all good rom coms, you're blind-sided by the emotion - so you’re skipping between feeling warm and fuzzy, to choked-up and tearful at times.
Episode 2, titled When Cupid Is a Prying Journalist, is a perfect example of this. We see Dev Patel (Joshua) and Caitlin McGee (Emma) share a giggle on a romantic zoo date, innocently chatting each other up with leopard impressions. You can’t help but smile.
Minutes later, as the couple share a connection while watching a mother gorilla swaddling her baby, you get that gut punch of emotion again - making the subsequent argument all the more real and painful.
So, when Emma delivers a crushing, verbal blow to Joshua and they share venomous words, you’re truly gutted for the pair - despite only knowing them 10 minutes or so.
Episode 3 is another great example of the fine balance between comedy and emotion, thanks largely to Anne Hathaway's expert performance - more on that next...
3. It boasts a wonderful array of performances from a star-studded cast
There was lots of hype when Modern Love was announced thanks to its star-studded cast.
And as none of the episodes are connected, it allows each actor to really shine in their own, unique way. Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables, The Princess Diaries) is no doubt one of the biggest of the show’s signings, especially as she's more known for her work in big blockbuster Hollywood movies.
In Episode 3, titled Take Me as I Am, Whoever I Am,Hathaway plays a woman, Lexi, struggling to cope with the dramatic highs and lows of bipolar disorder. Describing her performance as “stellar”, Amatangelo from Paste praises Hathaway's performance: “The portrayal of Lexi’s manic and depressive episodes are incredibly intense; you feel what it must be like to have such high-highs and such low-lows.”
But she’s not the only star to shine. In Episode 1, When the Doorman Is Your Main Man, Cristin Milioti (Maggie) and her doorman Laurentiu Possa (Guzmin) bounce off each other beautifully - and while their relationship is fairly unique, you can’t help but resonate with that feeling of bonding with someone who’s practically a stranger, but who nonetheless wants you to succeed (“I don’t like him. He’s empty-headed. You are a very bright woman with a PHD!”
In Episode 2, When Cupid Is a Prying Journalist, Dev Patel is the perfect New York boyfriend - with O’Keefe from Decider saying that he and Catherine Keener “play electrically off each other as a young tech entrepreneur and the nosy journalist interviewing him.”
But she reckons the the best casting coup is in Episode 4, titled Rallying to Keep the Game Alive, which stars Tina Fey and John Slattery, and is written and directed by Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe).
Playing a long-married couple trying to find a way to connect again, “it’s basically a showcase for them to show how magnificent [they] both are at depicting the subtle, crotchety frustrations shared between long-term partners.”
Paste’s Amatangelo goes one step further: “It’s perhaps the most perfect 28 minutes of television you’ll see all year.”
How to watch Modern Love on BT TV
BT TV customers can access the Prime Video app, allowing them to sign-up and watch thousands of TV episodes and movies on the streaming service.
The Prime Video app works on the latest BT TV boxes which most customers have. If your TV box supports Amazon Prime Video, the app will be waiting for you in the Players & Apps menu.
Press the blue Home or Y button on your remote and scroll right until Players & Apps appears. Select this and select the Prime Video app.
Modern Love is streaming on Amazon Prime Video now.