Michael Simon’s The Love Patient is a sweet, funny, black-humored, award-winning romantic comedy with a really messed-up premise: When Paul’s boyfriend Brad dumps him for being a cheating cad, Paul fakes lung cancer to win him back, convincing his best friend, Burt, whose family runs an oncology clinic to help him with the ruse. Faced with a foreclosure on their building that houses the clinic, Burt reluctantly agrees.
Wow. That’s a pretty messed up way to reconcile. I know people who have given expensive gift and trips; wept, sobbed, prostrated, and embarrassed themselves; and used hoodoo, magic and witchcraft (the occult methods work, so I never bother with the other more expensive and self-abasing methods), but faking a fatal illness–yikes!
Obviously Paul has some deep-seated issues with the truth, and since this is a rom-com, will have even more when his creepy ruse is discovered. But before the reveal and resolution, Paul’s family jumps into the fray. With Stephanie, Paul’s sister, Simon skewers the eco-fashion industry: Stephanie’s entire line of clothing and accessories is made from chunks of living grass. An overachiever, she resents her divorced parents always giving Paul a pass on his bad behaviors.
Paul’s faux cancer does have one benefit: It brings his parents back together. But can the New Age shaman his mother brings in heal Paul? The big question to the audience is not if it will cure him of non-existent cancer, but of his sociopathy…
The Love Patient, like Simon’s previous film the short romantic horror comedy Gay Zombie, is an uber-indie with high production values. Joining Simon will be his executive producer (and my long time close friend) Maria Montgomery, so along with a discussion of love, honesty, and lawn dresses we’ll be delving into the miracles of modern indie/low budget film making.