Love By Chance: A South African romcom in faux Hollywood
Love By Chance doesn’t have that much to do with chance – more with arrogance, ambition, and going to Hollywood.
Love By Chance sees the chance meeting of two South African aspiring actors – Bailey and Chance – at film auditions in America. Set and filmed in Georgia (the “Hollywood of the South”), the film portrays behind-the-scenes of the film industry. The two would-be lovers, together with their duo of friends each, get to know each other, and go through the romcom motions. Here, it’s their similar career ambitions, yet different levels of success, that drive the conflict in their relationship.
The film is a South Africa/USA co-production, and you can guess by looking at it: It has the lower budget of a South African feature, but takes place in America, utilising mostly American actors, most whom you haven’t heard of before. The biggest name in the movie is probably Terri J. Vaughn – as a fictionalised, movie director version of herself.*
The lead actors – Atandwa Kani and Altovise Lawrence – (together with their cronies) do a decent job in their roles, but it does feel like the overall tone of the film, and therefore acting, wasn’t consistent. Kani’s role, for one, seems almost written for the actor – utilising his training with voices and accents, but not really ringing true emotionally. It, as well as his costars’, are often overstated and big, unlike what we’re used to seeing in similar films from Hollywood.
Compare it to something like Judd Apatow’s Netflix series Love, for example, and you’d find two polar opposite portrayals of American movie sets. For some reason, Love by Chance seem unfazed by realism, favouring exaggerated storytelling over recognisable and relatable scenes.
Overall, Love by Chance has flaws that can often be attributed to budget, but it also exists in an emotionally weird parallel universe – where actors implode due to big-headedness, and make business contacts by following them to their cars. If you can forgive the “heightened reality” of this movie-world, you might find Love by Chance an amplified, sweet, albeit predictable story about relationships.
*To be fair, it looks like real-life Terri has directed one film: #DigitalLivesMatter in 2016
Love by Chance is a USA/SA co-produced romantic comedy directed by Samad Davis, and starring Atandwa Kani and Altovise Lawrence. It’s in cinemas from 5 May.
Floris sometimes writes things when he’s not watching movies or playing video games or editing videos or folk-rock singing/songwriting.