When Lindsay Walker (Jenn Gotzon) goes to work for a black publicity agency, she has no idea what she is getting herself involved in culturally. Soon, her assigned mentor, Neque Campbell (writer/director Anthony Hackett), is giving her pointers on black culture, and the two of them are helping the other tackle troublesome situations at home. At times hilarious, at times poignant, and always faith-filled, Love Different is a remarkably different film from the mind behind last year’s thriller, Crisis Call.
At home, Walker is struggling to raise her son Brandon (Aidan Toth), a headstrong teenage boy with a mind of his own. Across town, Campbell can’t seem to satisfy his wife’s (Teranee Franshee) hopes for their relationship, and he certainly wants nothing to do with her church. As the two engage in various hijinks around town, from EBT card errors to local Christian bookstore attacks, they gradually work their way into each other’s inner circle. While they might be different and unique, their friendship makes each of them stronger.
One of the funniest moments occurs on their first outing to a restaurant together, when the overanxious waiter proceeds to dive headlong into a racist pool of expectations. It’s hilarious (and quite sharp intellectually), made even funnier after seeing the outtakes involving their server and the two lead actors. Elsewhere, I found an interaction with a racist mandated to racial awareness training to be one of the funnier bits, too; it’s also part of the outtakes later. Hackett’s desire to present something different from the dark, heady Crisis Call was evident.
While a good deal of the film is devoted to black and white relations, the film’s faith elements are evident without being forced. Walker thinks church is important; Campbell does not. But their friendship allows them to challenge each other on things because it’s based on growing mutual respect. Their learning allows them to use their experience to teach others how to best be accepting of others - in and out of church.
Hackett obviously had some things to say about what it means for a church to be open to and for everyone. It’s a testament to what he believes about the love of God - and the importance of each person as an individual. This time out, he’s tackled some big topics, too, but they’re launched into with raucous laughter and quite a few smiles.
For more on the film, check out our interviews with Jenn Gotzon and Anthony Hackett.