Directed by Garret Price
Starring Anton Yelchin, J.J. Abrams, Sofia Boutella and John Cho
MPAA rating: R for language, some sexual content and nudity
Running time: 1 hour 32 minutes
by Benjamin Leonard, Best Boy
Sure, you know who Anton Yelchin was. You’d seen him in a few movies. Probably the Star Treks. Likely in Green Room, Fright Night or as the titular Charlie Bartlett. You might even remember him for his roles in Terminator Salvation, Alpha Dogs or Hearts in Atlantis. Can you believe that in his 27 years (only 17 of which was he acting) that this young man accrued sixty-nine film and television credits? Stylistically, these roles were all over the place but he was memorable in each of them.
Born in Leningrad to professional figure skaters, Anton came to America when his parents fled the USSR due to antisemitism. From a young age, he wanted to become an actor. His favorite film was Space Jam but his parents felt that he should start watching actual cinema if he was going to take his profession seriously. They started him on a diet of films like Taxi Driver and Scarface. Soon he became a voracious consumer of all film, burning through hours of classics, silent and foreign films. Anything he could get his hands on. He was always taking notes on what he saw and how it could inspire his future work. This was a young man that we here at Moviejawn can really relate to. He WAS film. Sadly, he died due to an issue with his Jeep that resulted in the recall of many vehicles.
Love, Antosha is a lovingly crafted documentary molded from readings of Anton’s notes and diaries (voiced by Nicolas Cage), tons of home movies and interviews with his family, childhood friends and celebrity friends/co-workers. This is Garret Price’s directorial debut, but he’s edited several other docs, shorts and TV projects. His experience in editing clearly shows here.
Through these various representations, you learn about Anton’s many sides. There was his professional side, his adventurous/seeking side, his gracious side and the side he kept mostly to himself in his writing. Through the stories, you can see how his desire to learn more and improve himself inspired others around him to be better themselves. It’s an amazing deep look into his life. I was surprised by the amount of footage they had from home movies and video diaries.
While sad at times, Love Antosha is also uplifting. At a young age, Anton was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. He had to monitor his health constantly, making sure he wasn’t over extending himself, but this never got in the way of his passion for learning, the arts, his friends or his family.
I’d recommend this movie to just about anyone that enjoys the craft behind film and only avoid it if you’ve come down with a case of The Bummers©. Not only will it remind you of all the great films you’ve missed with Anton in them, you’ll also learn about the movies that inspired him (that perhaps you haven’t seen yet either).
Love, Antosha opened in limited cities a couple weeks ago and has expanded today. It will be playing at the Ritz at the Bourse this week in Philadelphia. Go to the official website to see if it’s playing in your area.