Tough Love

Critical Introduction  by Claire Philips

‘Tough Love’
The film takes as its focus the balance of power within human love relationships, and the role that fantasy has to play within this. Bob and his partner Ted are embroiled in a sadomasochistic relationship, often re-enacting a fantasy in which Ted is the baby and Bob is the mother. For Ted, this fantasy is for fun, a way of exploring his sexuality in a new and interesting way, but for Bob it is much more than this. The fantasy soon turns into an obsession for him, one which he is unwilling to stop when Ted grows bored. The film explores Bob’s attempt to keep Ted as a baby, and the disintegration of those plans.

The film poses such questions as ‘When does a fantasy stop being harmless?’, ‘Can a relationship ever be equal?’ and ‘Where do you draw the line between an act of love and an act of abuse?’. Whilst the film explores an unconventional relationship, these themes can be applied to more usual pairings as well. We intended to displace these issues onto a couple such as Bob and Ted (equal in terms of bodily strength and societal position) to complicate existing ideas about power and control within human love matches.