The Look Of Love Review

The Look Of Love

What does love look like to you?

In the latest collaboration between Steve Coogan and Michael Winterbottom, love looks a lot sadder than you might think.

Paul Raymond is a performer and, more specifically, a mind reader.

Admittedly, he’s only ever managed to read one thing from other people’s minds, which is that men will pay good money to see pretty girl’s in the nud.

Now this may sound like the blindingly obvious, and that’s because it is.

But how many other people have taken this idea and used it to turn themselves into the richest man in Britain?

And that’s where Paul’s real talent lies.

Having made his fortune in risqué plays decreed the worst in all of London, which is just as appealing as being the best as far as the ticket buying public are concerned, Raymond proceeds to buy up half of Soho with his newly acquired wealth.

The boy Paul also has a beautiful wife, Jean, whom he’s sired a young daughter and son with; one’s called Debbie and the other Howard, though I’ll leave you to work out which is which.

In short, Paul Raymond is a man who has it all; hell, Jean even allows him to openly sleep with half the young starlets he hires.

Until, that is, a particularly gorgeous young thing by the name of Amber catches Paul’s eye and he embarks upon something more than just a casual affair with her.

As Raymond’s personal life slowly starts to spiral out of control, the question we’re invited to ask is whether being the self-made richest man in Britain is enough to make Paul happy?

The Look Of Love

Brought to director Michael Winterbottom by his regular muse Steve Coogan, The Look Of Love charts the rise and fall of Paul Raymond, a soft porn peddler and principal player behind Soho’s reputation that we all know and, ah, love today.

Being a big fan of their most recent collaboration in The Trip, which Winterbottom revealed they’ll be making an Italian sequel to after this Sundance London screening, I was looking forward to something cut from a similar cloth with this new film.

Straddling that fine line between comedy and despair, The Look Of Love is both funny and tragic as we watch a man who has everything but knows the value of nothing slowly lose what he loves most in his life.

Women come and go, with the only constant in Raymond’s life being his darling daughter Debbie.

These two give new meaning to the special relationship that so often exists between fathers and their daughters, as Raymond indulges his first born with whatever she wants without ever setting boundaries to teach her how to live her life.

Utilising his chameleon-esque nature, Coogan excels as Paul Raymond; in fact, I get the feeling the man behind Alan Partridge is far more comfortable playing real people than the fictional kind.

Imogen Poots plays the part as his daughter Debbie while the simply stunning Tamsin Egerton is brilliantly cast as Amber, a role that consistently involves her wearing not much at all.

Half of the country’s most famous comedians pop up in cameos at various points, and The Look Of Love is never less than enjoyable; but neither does it really hit the heights of previous Coogan and Winterbottom collaborations.

As for Burt’s song about what love looks like, well I wouldn’t know much about that, but I’d wager it involves doing what’s right for them rather than what’s right for you.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

April 2013