Tallgrass Film Festival Review: This is Love

It’s interesting how we tend to be unaware of the stories around us because they just don’t have a medium to be told, a vehicle to carry them to the rest of us. And most of these stories will go untold, but once in a while we get lucky and someone with a voice will stumble upon them. Producer JC Guest is one of these people, and he found Rudy Love almost two decades ago and spent all of that time working to get a documentary made on this quiet legend.

mt7dsx41_400x400Love is a Wichita native, someone I’ve admittedly seen around the city without thinking much about, but he’s also a staple in the world of jazz, funk, and soul music. He’s played with Ray Charles, with Barry White, with Little Richard and Marvin Gaye, and he even wrote for Isaac Hayes. Despite decades of touring his family always brought him home and kept him here. He himself acknowledges that if it were not for the people he loved in his life he might have been a bigger name, but his priorities lay elsewhere. This is actually the point of this documentary, and it wraps it in humor and heartwarming testimonials from friends and family to open up a door and talk about this guy.

Rudy Love, his brother, John Alexander, and JC Guest taking questions at the Tallgrass Film Festival

It isn’t a perfect film, I’ll say that. A documentary is something you want to create with as much objective vision as possible (it’s impossible, whatever you study you also change, but you’re supposed to try) and director John Alexander has no intention of stepping back whatsoever. He is integrated into the lives of Rudy and his family and this makes for an endearing film but also a-386944-1293879226-jpegone that glosses over much of the musician’s career. There are many things that eke into the story here and there – life in New York, his ex-wife, a life abroad for a time. Alexander is, instead, borderline pandering to his Wichitan audience by focusing more on the local love and I felt there was room for a bigger story.

But despite these issues the film winds up being fairly delightful due to the charismatic and charming nature of the subject himself. He stumbles over his words, he chuckles to himself, and his grandfatherly personality carry this whole affair and never leaves a dull moment. Despite some issues I found myself enjoying almost all of the film and left with a smile on my face. This is Love really is a loving little film, but like love itself you can’t get through it without some good times and some bad times.

Rudy Love and the Love Family live in concert

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