LGBT Review: From Zero to I Love You

From Zero to I Love You takes us on a twisting and turning romantic journey, with complex characters, impressive production values, and a quietly engaging narrative.

Written and directed by Doug Spearman (Hot Guys With Guns), From Zero to I Love You follows Peter (Darryl Stephens), a thirty-something gay man living a life of bed-hopping and falling for the wrong men. He soon meets closeted Jack (Scott Bailey), a married father of two – before quickly falling into a discreet relationship with him. With each man forced to prioritise what they want in life, the relationship is hit with a series of hurdles – some of which they will overcome, whilst others could prove too challenging.

Spearman’s narrative is something of an obstacle course for our two star crossed lovers – with much in common, but each living in a manner which seems determined to keep them apart: Peter rooted in a life of casual relationships, Jack in his family circumstances. Spearman hooks us into this journey through likeable and realistic characterisation of Peter and Jack, and conviction in their relationship. With natural turns from Stephens and Bailey where the chemistry is apparent and convincing, we are immediately invested in their shared journey. As Jack explores his relationship with Peter in secret and feelings only getting stronger between the pair, yet there is an enthralling sense of narrative conflict building in the background as suspicion about the relationship rises.

From Zero to I Love You veers in numerous unexpected narrative routes with the happily-ever-after outcome that we crave for our two endearing protagonists feeling unachievable at points. Throughout this all, Spearman keeps proceedings natural and understated with the twists and turns of the narrative feeling grounded in realism (e.g. Jack’s family growing in suspicions, Pete facing temptation for other men as Jack struggles to fully emotionally commit) – undoubtedly working in the film’s favour.

There is enough grit in both characters to add further conflict into From Zero to I Love You. Pete has a self-destructive quality, placing obstacles in the way of his own happiness (it is noted that he regularly finds married men), whilst Jack is obviously committing a massive betrayal to his wife and family through his cheating and closeted repression.

Kevin James Barry and Peter Steusloff’s understated cinematography captures a charming quality in the Philadelphia settings making it the perfect location for a contemporary urban queer romance. Mervyn Warren and Malik Williams’s score shines in its gentle simplicity, not turning From Zero to I Love You into a swelling, overstated or gushing romance.

From Zero to I Love You is an engaging contemporary romance that invests us through impeccable and complex turns from Darryl Stephens and Scott Bailey. Writer-director Doug Spearman keeps the narrative grounded but unpredictable in its impressive twists and turns.

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