Fantasia 2023 Review: WITH LOVE AND A MAJOR ORGAN Is One From The Heart, Whatever Shape Yours Takes

Editor, U.S. ; Dallas, Texas (@HatefulJosh)
Fantasia 2023 Review: WITH LOVE AND A MAJOR ORGAN Is One From The Heart, Whatever Shape Yours Takes

What if when we talked about giving someone our heart, we actually meant it? First time feature filmmaker Kim Albright and writer Julia Lederer explore what happens when our innermost feelings, good and bad, manifest physically in With Love and a Major Organ. It’s a charming, playful, and at times painful look at the ways in which people often depend upon each other for their own self-worth, as well as examining generational trauma, and the ways we often close ourselves off to avoid complex emotions.

The film opens with Anabel (Anna Maguire) witnessing a man ripping his heart from his chest and throwing it off a cliff and then walking away as if nothing had happened. Shocked and confused, she wonders what could possibly have driven him to such a desperate act. We soon learn that in Anabel’s world, hearts are not only vital organs, but have physical manifestations – hers, for example, is a lantern. They live within the body, but can be removed, though not without consequence. She doesn’t know exactly what it all means, but she’s about to find out.

When Anabel starts up a conversation with George (Hamza Haq) after many days of sitting a few benches apart at a park, she begins to feel drawn to him, though he’s hesitant to reciprocate. Unsure of what to do about this, she attempts to get closer to him, but he inches away, either through aloofness or some other avoidance. Saddened by his flat demeanor, and hopelessly in love, she rips out her own heart and gifts in to him in the hopes that he’ll share her feelings, but instead he finds new life and runs off, leaving her alone and just as much of a shell as he once was. It’s clear they were destined to be together, but only if they can come back together.

A lot of the metaphor in With Love and a Major Organ is pretty obvious, but some of it is expressed with such subtlety that there are little pieces that only blossomed in my mind hours later as I processed the film. The film is so uniquely executed that I fully expected it to be the work of a writer/director, but Albright and Lederer’s synthesis of story into vision is just that good. Each moment leads seamlessly to the next, and every scene is layered with emotion and meaning, making this the kind of film that demands discussion. Perhaps over a coffee with a cute new friend?

Maguire and Haq turn in finely tuned performances, essentially switching places halfway through the film in terms of the emotional timbre of their characters. It’s fun to see an actor given the freedom to exercise this kind of range over the course of a single film, and both handle the task beautifully. The way they manifest joy and sadness with equal facility is satisfying to watch, you can their attributes flowing from one to the other, the joy and wonder of following one’s heart and the despair that sets in upon losing it.

With Love and a Major Organ brings to mind the spirit and wonder that I felt watching Michele Gondry’s miraculous Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and to even bring that film into the conversation speaks volumes to Albright and Lederer’s work. For anyone who has ever been in love, and even more so, felt the deep pain of losing it, this film is sure to strike a chord. Optimistic, realistic, a whimsical manifestation of the emotional pains we all suffer, With Love and a Major Organ is one from the heart, whatever shape yours takes.

With Love and a Major Organ

  • Kim Albright
  • Julia Lederer
  • Anna Maguire
  • Hamza Haq
  • Veena Sood
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Kim AlbrightJulia LedererAnna MaguireHamza HaqVeena SoodDrama

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