HOT DOCS ’15: ‘Love Between the Covers’ turns pages for women who love romance

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LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS premieres Saturday, April 25 at 9 p.m. at the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto. For further screenings head here

Full disclosure: one of my favourite book series of all-time is In Death, a series about Eve Dallas, a tough as all hell police lieutenant who investigates gruesome murders in a futuristic New York City, while trying to deal with personal struggles and making it work with her hot, Irish and former criminal of a husband. The series inventive, sexy, tensely plotted, and very feminist. There are more female characters, of all races and classes, than men and they pass the Bechdel test a hundred times over. Problem is, the series by Nora Roberts, so I had to say “full disclosure” before telling you about my love for it. Cause the minute you know it’s by a well-known romance writer, it’s instantly de-legitimized, right?

Love Between the Covers attempts to reverse this stigma by showing the sheer drive and passion behind the authors of romance novels, how seriously they take their craft and how passionately they defend it as a genre as legitimate as any other. Quite simply, Love Between the Covers is about, well, love. It’s a fun documentary of smart, talented women who hone their craft and the women who adore their novels coming together in a great, shared female space.

While Love Between the Covers is filmically a sort of “Documentary 101” in that doesn’t take many risks, it still provides an eye-opening look at how the romance novels, the top-selling literary genre in the world, build a supportive and welcoming community for fans and authors. More recently, women of colour and queer women, who fight for recognition in popular culture and are so used to ever seeing people like themselves represented in fiction, have carved out their own spaces in the genre. It’s one of the strongest aspects of the film, as director Laurie Kahn lets her subjects speak freely without interjection about a topic they live and breathe.

I was impressed by how Love Between the Covers took a feminist stance–an intersectional feminist stance at that!–about a topic that could have so easily resulted in a puff piece. Kahn could have portrayed romance novels as the domain of bored housewives, or unfulfilled spinsters, or any one of the tired cliches pop culture ascribes to authors and lovers of romance novels. This film takes great pains to show how romance is for all women of all races and orientations because all women seek agency, and so do protagonists in romance novels.

B+

Laura is covering the 2015 Hot Docs Film Festival live from Toronto. Check out more Hot Docs reviews here. 
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2 responses to “HOT DOCS ’15: ‘Love Between the Covers’ turns pages for women who love romance

  1. Pingback: HOT DOCS ’15: Two authors from ‘Love Between the Covers’ discuss romance, sexism in fiction | Cinefilles·

  2. Pingback: HOT DOCS ’15: ‘Love Between the Covers’ director wants women’s stories on the page and screen | Cinefilles·

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