Cinema Review: Love, Antosha | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, May 29th, 2020  

Love, Antosha

Studio: Lurker
Directed by Garret Price

Aug 07, 2019 Web Exclusive
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Although he was not a household name, Anton Yelchin left behind a substantial body of work when he was killed in a freak accident in June of 2016 at the recurrently unlucky age of 27. He began acting at the age of 11 and over the course of nearly two decades built himself a career as a leading man in indies and art house projects while also appearing as a supporting player in major franchise entries like Terminator: Salvation and the rebooted Star Trek trilogy. Love, Antosha, the new documentary produced by Yelchin’s friends and collaborators, makes it clear that he took his craft seriously, but his body of work is not the films focus. Instead, the documentary focuses on the man he was, not just an actor, but a son, a friend and a human being.

Love, Antosha makes Yelchin’s love of acting abundantly clear. Another love that it draws sharply and beautifully into focus is the deep relationship he had with his mother. Irina and Viktor Yelchin were Russian figure skaters who fled the collapsing USSR to raise their only son in Los Angeles. The documentary’s title comes from the way Yelchin would sign notes to he wrote to his mother as a boy, and the film traces their relationship from his childhood to the long letters and emails he would write to her while he was away on shoots and press tours. Irina’s recollections of her son combined with old home movies of a precocious young Anton mugging for the camera would be heartrending even to viewers that had no familiarity with Yelchin or his work. The recollections of Anton’s famous co-stars and collaborators - including Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pine, Willem Dafoe and Kristen Stewart - are extremely genuine, but the heart of the film is the relationship he shared with his mother.

The other major thread of Love, Antosha is the revelation that Yelchin struggled all his life with cystic fibrosis. His parents hid his diagnosis from him until he was a teen and Yelchin himself never publicly discussed his illness or the grueling treatments and exercises required to keep it in check. This revelation somehow makes the bizarre circumstances of his death even more tragic, and Yelchin’s apparent desire to never stop working all the more worthy and admirable. Later segments touch on his forays into music and photography, as well as his unrealized plans for directing feature films. Documentaries such as this inevitably end up being half celebration and half lament, and Love, Antosha is no different. If nothing else, the film succeeds in presenting Yelchin as someone you’d want to know better, an earnest, talented artist who will be deeply missed.


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