Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Rooker, Ariana Greenblatt, Jessica Henwick
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Post-apocalyptic romantic comedy directed by Michael Matthews. Love and Monsters (2020) follows Joel Dawson (Dylan O’Brien), who after the Monsterpocalypse, has been living underground ever since giant creatures took control of the land. After reconnecting over radio with his high school girlfriend Aimee (Jessica Henwick), who is now more than eighty miles away at a coastal colony, Joel begins to fall for her again. As Joel realizes that there’s nothing left for him underground, he decides against all logic to venture out to Aimee, despite all the dangerous monsters that stand in his way.
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Joel: I didn’t really have your typical upbringing. I mean, I did, at first, but then the world ended. I mean, I don’t think anyone was really shocked. We always thought it might, and then it just finally happened. But how it happened, now that’s where it gets interesting.
Joel: Agatha 616. Yep, an asteroid heading straight for Earth. I know. So obvious. So humanity came together, and we did what we do best. We shot a bunch of rockets at it! And we blew it up! And it was great! But it wasn’t.
Joel: You see, the thing that makes rockets rockets, chemical compounds, a lot of them. Which rained back down on us, and everything changed. And by “everything”, I mean cold-blooded creatures. And by “changed”, I mean mutated and started eating us to death. Ants, lizards, roaches, crocodiles. You name it. There’s a lot of them.
Joel: I knew this one kid who was eaten in his sleep by a goldfish he won at a carnival. Man, Todd loved that goldfish. And that cat.
Joel: So, for most of human history, if you wanted to kill a cockroach, right, all you needed was a shoe. Well, suddenly you needed a shotgun. And sometimes even a tank. And sometimes even that doesn’t work. Especially, if you don’t stay in the tank, Bob.
Joel: Eventually, the really big ones and our military took each other out. We lost ninety-five percent of the human population in about a year. That’s a lot of Bobs. And a lot of Todds.
Joel: So for the last seven years I’ve been living in an underground bunker. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Really. It’s a great group of people, and we all love each other. You know, it’s kind of what I imagined college would have been like.
Joel: Being stuck in a survival bunker with a bunch of people who have all found their soul mate is less than ideal. Karen and Ray got together a few months ago, so they’re still kind of in their honeymoon phase. It is super physical. Good for them, you know. They’re both very attractive, and apparently quite flexible. Hey, life’s short. Especially down here.
Joel: So pretty much everyone’s coupled up down here. Our first baby was born last winter. It was super emotional. Welcome to the apocalypse, kid. The food sucks. At least you’ll never know what you’re missing.
Joel: Kala and Connor got together after Carol died. Carol was a cow who ate a box of laundry detergent. And now we only have one cow. Her name’s Gertie. Gertie is great.
Joel: [after their compound has been breached] So you guys don’t get scared, ever?
Connor: We get scared.
Tim: We all get scared, Joel, but you get really scared.
Connor: Look, we’re not trying to make you feel bad, Joel.
Tim: We love you, Joel.
Connor: But you’re unsafe.
Tim: You’re a liability.
Connor: Even on supply runs.
Joel: Okay, why did that speech feel so rehearsed?
Joel: [referring to the creature] Did I shoot it, or did you?
Anna Lucia: What do you think?
Joel: Oh, and I have a pretty severe freezing problem. But I am working on it.
Joel: [seven years ago, shows Aimee his drawing] What do you think?
Aimee: Why do I have a beard?
Joel: No, that’s shading. I did the shading.
Aimee: My head is so large.
Joel: You have a big head.
Aimee: And my hand is so tiny.
Joel: You have tiny hands.
Aimee: I love it. I fricking love it.
Joel: That’s super sweet, because it’s terrible.
'Good instincts are earned by making mistakes. If you're lucky enough to survive a few mistakes, you're going to be okay out here.' - Clyde (Love and Monsters) Click To Tweet
Joel: Dear Aimee, This week has been especially s**tty. We lost Connor to what looked like a really big ant. Helps me to draw them. I try to capture their essence, scribble down some notes on how to kill them. Sometimes I think it’s the only way I know how to cope with these things.
Joel: [over adio] Actually, I got super ripped since the last time you saw me, so.
Aimee: Oh. Wow! Super ripped, huh?
Joel: Yeah, I was kidding. I’m not super ripped. That was just a bad joke.
Aimee: I am still kind of blown away that you were even able to find my colony on this thing.
Joel: I know. It’s pretty crazy. Because I found it on the first one. What are the odds?
Joel: Yeah. No, I called like ninety.
Joel: Hey, you know what I wish sometimes?
Joel: That I could like snap my fingers and be back in that car with you. Man, that’d be nice.
Aimee: Yeah. Too bad it’s, you know, impossible. Kind of feels like everything is impossible these days.
Joel: We’ve lost a lot of people over the years. You’d think you’d get numb to it after a certain point. You don’t.
Joel: [flashback to the day of the attack] Aimee. I love you.
Aimee: I love you too.
Joel: I’m going to come find you.
Aimee: You better.
Joel: Aimee’s colony. How far away is it?
Ray: About eighty-five miles.
Joel: How long does that take to get there?
Tim: Joel, you’re not actually thinking of going?
Joel: Tim, just humor me. How long?
Ray: Seven days. Minimum.
Anna Lucia: An armed and trained hunting party would be lucky to last fifty miles on the surface. But you, Joel?
Joel: I’m going to go.
Tim: It’s an impossible journey, Joel.
Joel: No, I’m serious. I love you guys, but there’s one person in this world who ever truly made me happy, and she’s only eighty-five miles away. And I’m going to go see her. Phew. That felt awesome.
Joel: Dear Aimee, I am done hiding. I’m done waiting for things to get better. It’s time to take matters into my own hands. Time to let someone else make the minestrone. I’m taking a radio, even though it doesn’t have power. But I’m going to take it anyway.
'Don't settle. You don’t have to. Not even at the end of the world.' - Joel (Love and Monsters) Click To Tweet
Tim: We’re not letting you leave, Joel. You’re needed here.
Joel: Tim, no, I’m not. Come on. I don’t do anything.
Tim: Joel, that’s not true. You fix the radio. You make the minestrone. Okay. It doesn’t sound as important when I say it out loud.
Joel: I appreciate you trying. Really, I do. I don’t know, I just don’t feel like I belong anywhere. I don’t really want to die all alone at the end of the world, so.
Joel: Look, I know you guys all just think of me as like some little, pathetic, adorable hedgehog. But I can take care of myself. I’m actually probably a lot stronger than you might think.
Ray: Everything will try to kill you.
Ray: Be observant. Use the advantages that you have. You’re fast and small, so.
Ray: Don’t fight.
Joel: Don’t fight.
Ray: Just run and hide.
Ray: [to Joel] You’re an a**hole if you get eaten.
Joel: [after he’s left his compound] Start with something easy. West. Nope, it’s this way. West is this way. S**t. Split the difference. Go this way. Done. First decision made.
Joel: Dear Aimee, I am doing it. I’m really doing it! Honestly, I thought it’d be way worse too. So far, it’s not too bad. I’ve seen a lot of signs of death, but no actual death. So cross your fingers.
Joel: [to the dog] You all alone? Yeah. Me too. Boy? Is that your name? Boy? Your name is Boy. I’m Joel. Nice to meet you. Thanks for saving my life, Boy.
Joel: [referring to the dress] Was that your owner’s? It’s okay. You don’t have to talk about it.
Joel: [to Boy] You know, I had a girl too once. I think you would’ve really liked her. Yeah, you guys would totally get along. She loves dogs. I mean, all animals. She’s a big animal lover. I haven’t seen her in seven years. Long time. That’s why I’m trying to go find her. I haven’t told anyone this, but I’m kind of nervous about it.
Joel: [drawing and writing about Boy in his notebook] “Weakness, dogs.” That’s you.
Joel: [to Boy] Alright, well this is it. Thanks for having me. I should stop talking to a dog.
Joel: [as Boy follows him] You want to come with me? Okay. You can come. Let’s go. Come on.