Book of Love

Director: Alan Brown
Screenwriters: Alan Brown

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


If you miss the moody brilliance of a story told with a stolen glance or a telling smile, Alan Brown's Book of Love is for you. Setting his sights on the vulnerable heart of contemporary middle-class America, Brown unspools a seductive tale of the choices we make in daily life and the weight of their consequences.

Elaine (Frances O'Connor) and David (Simon Baker) are on the verge of marital complacency, that state of submissive acceptance of who they are and how marriage is. Then they meet Chet (Gregory Smith), a 15-year-old employee at the local ice cream store who is full of youthful energy and hungry to live life to its fullest. An instant bond forms when Elaine and David welcome Chet into their lives as a surrogate child. But trouble arises when a momentary lapse of restraint threatens to rupture the core of the trio's seemingly idyllic lives.

A year after having his short, O beautiful, in the Festival, Brown returns with a delicate story charged with emotion that refreshingly refrains from taking a moral stance. The depth of character development, shadowed by the ambiguity of blame, leaves the viewer's sense of values shaken. O'Connor's portrayal vibrates with tangible feeling, while Baker undergoes an intricately textured, unraveling transformation. Book of Love will make you reflect on what is versus what should be, and the split-second decisions separating the two.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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