American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Mark Webber's “The End of Love" connects and lingers by making incredible effort seem natural. Following his 2008 ensemble debut, "Explicit Ills," actor/director Webber combines a structured narrative with something that feels like near-documentary realism. He plays "Mark," a Los Angeles-based actor struggling over the recent death of his girlfriend, Evelyn (Frankie Shaw), with whom he fathered a two-year-old son Isaac (Isaac Love).
A Philadelphia transplant to LA, Webber examines how his actor's ego collides with new role as a father. It's one thing for Mark to brag about a high-profile movie part, but when Isaac gives him a forehead tattoo with a permanent marker, humility is really his only option.
With his real-life son joining him, Webber is not paired with a performer in the usual sense. Lively Isaac is simply goes about his existence while a film is expertly assembled around him. As a result, skilled DP Patrick Lucien Cochet needs only to capture the conversation between Webber and his boy. Their interactions evade real-time; they unfold almost as a crystallized memory — compressing laughter, tears, and wonder into a sensory collage — and as both character and director, Webber truly displays his talent.
The half-improv approach is a risky one, especially as Judd Apatow has made intra-family line-ups almost a special effect, a shorthand promising some form of parental truth. But there's never a gimmicky statement found in Webber's work, only a series of confident questions.