Sweet Romantic Connections Weave through ‘The Seasons — Four Love Stories’

The Seasons — Four Love Stories

Rating: 8/10

Director and Writer: Paul Schwartz

Style: Romance

Time: 82 minutes

Trailer: https://www.vimeo.com/745909945

Website: https://www.paulschwartz.com/new-page-1

The Autumn segment with Anna Holbrook, Kathleen Simmonds and Brian Hotaling

Romantic films are tough sells these days, because they tend to sway toward the schmaltzy, ridiculous and painfully obvious. Not so here.

This series of beautiful and simple love stories not only give us hope for the future, but hope for romantic movies. And it’s sure to put a smile on your face by the end.

Cleverly told through the use of the Four Seasons, each segment involves a different season of love. Spring is for the youth, Winter is for an elderly couple — you get the drift.

The music, put together by the writer/director Paul Schwartz, is a delightful collection of classics and appropriate orchestration for each segment. They represent the scenery and the season piecing together this clever puzzle.

What’s even more clever is that although each season seems to be completely separate love stories, they are intertwined because at least one character crosses from one story to another and therefore connects all four of the love stories, and all four of the seasons.

These stories also take place during the Covid confinement, adding an extra difficult way of coping with connecting and love while wearing masks and worrying about getting sick.

The actors are all fairly unknown, but so believable and realistic in their understated roles.

The film start with Summer with a couple who were on a whirlwind love affair and then suddenly everything shuts down. Their romantic trip together was suddenly canceled, and they found themselves forced to live together before they really got to know each other.

Mike Keller and Katya Preiser as Nick and Sasha

Now, Nick (an out of work executive played by Mike Keller) and Sasha (a dancer with her sights on Broadway played by Katya Preiser) are having troubles, and as they are on their way to breaking up. But, they go to visit Nick’s only living relative, a wise sage aunt (played by Margo Sappington) who is having a birthday, and she can tell the couple is having some trouble.

The Autumn segment follows a successful romance novelist (Anna Holbrook) who has moved to a small town with her husband (Brian Hotaling) who cannot find a job. They bump into Samantha, an Australian chef (portrayed by Kathleen Simmonds) who is opening up a restaurant in their usually dead town. The writer becomes extremely jealous and imagines her husband to be off galavanting like one of the cads she writes about in her romance novels.

The couple is constantly noting that their favorite places are closing down, which is something we’ve all felt during the Covid quarantine.

The writer also speaks of storms and jealousy in her stories. Her fantasies of her husband and Samantha are filmed in black-and-white with the stilted narration of bad romance prose. The conclusion to this segment is satisfying, if not hysterically funny.

Winter centers on a man (played by Ed Setrakian) who is reuniting with a girlfriend (portrayed wonderfully by Joan Porter) after 60 years when he pledged his love for her at a diner and then she ran off. Set up in the same place, at the same diner, the man tries to rekindle the love for the woman, giving her two weeks to decide if they actually will get married as they planned six decades before.

Some of the answers in the segments don’t get answered until the end, and that makes it a wonderful circle as well.

Spring shows the love of a cute re-headed girl (irrepressibly played by talented Keira Lassor) who has a kid her own age (Anthony Cipolla) who is fascinated with her and her skateboarding prowess. He tries to talk to her at a pizza parlor and asks her to teach him some new tricks.

But, she ignores him and she goes off to a skateboard park, but has a nasty spill. When coming back to consciousness in the grass, this handsome older teen David (played by Jaden Pace with his feathered hair) comes to her aid to see if she needs some help.

Jaden Pace portrays the hung of Shiloh’s dreams

Her handsome dream guy picks her up and she is infatuated. The guy nicknames her “Shiloh the Brave” for surviving her big fall. She goes home and immediately changes her looks and drags her mom to the mall to get her a dress.

She heads to the park in her dress, and although David sees her and remarks how differently she looks, his eyes are wandering toward another girl whom he’s attracted to. Shiloh is heartbroken and sits at a bench and gets some wise advice from an old woman, who is the long-lost girlfriend from the last segment.

This film has only played at festivals, and won a ton of awards already. It has won Best Comedy honors and awards for many of the actors, as well as for writing and romance.

This is the first feature for the director Paul Schwartz, who said, “I have always been intrigued by pieces that are told as a series of stories that link to each other: either thematically, by sharing characters, or by unfolding linearly over a period of time. In this film the four stories are linked in all three ways. They are all romantic, they are told serially as the seasons succeed each other, and in each story after the first, one character from the previous story reappears.”

Schwartz is a writer, director and composter and has worked in film, theater, opera and dance. He started this film during the Covid pandemic in the summer 2021.

Look for a theatrical release and on VOD platforms