There are decades of films about the heroics and horrors of war, but most of those films leave the story on the battle field. While there have been many great films about what happens during combat, films like “Born on the Fourth of July”, The Deer Hunter”, and “In the Valley of Elah” show you what happens when those soldiers come back home. War is hell, but living with someone with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) can be just as difficult. I know they are not living with the same stress that someone who has been shot at, but they are living with the stress of the person that they used to know can bring the unpredictable to everyday life.
“Terrible Love” explores that relationship as Amy (Amy Urbina) and Rufus (Rufus Burns) discover the difficulties of finding normalcy as Rufus comes home after suffering an injury in combat. Upon arrival everything is perfect as the euphoria of being reunited after a year apart, this distracts from what problems hide inside Rufus. Amy sees the beginning as Rufus reacts to being inside of the carwash, as if he is still in combat, begging Amy to get him out of there. As lost as Rufus is back at home, Amy is just as lost as she tries to find help for her husband and bring back the man she married. Things do not get better, as help is hard to find, and Rufus becomes more violent as he has a harder time controlling his moods. Amy must end up making a choice for her and her daughter’s safety and her love for Rufus.
The strongest part of “Terrible Love” is the relationship between Rufus and Amy, and listening to the filmmakers there is a good reason for that. Amy and Rufus the actors lived together for a month before the film started shooting. The other thing that brought the realism to the film, was that the entire movie was improvised, which made you feel like you were a fly on the wall in their house and not watching it on a movie screen. Writers Luke Helmer and Christopher Thomas, who also directed the film, laid out an outline and let the actors bring to life the story. Thomas got the idea for the story after watching friends who went from being the perfect couple, to living in separate houses, and wondering what were the circumstances that lead to that, behind closed doors. “Terrible Love” is a moving story, with the last twenty minutes where everything comes to a breaking point. While the filmmakers brought the idea to life, it is the performances of Urbina and Burns that make the story complete and gives a face to a problem few ever talk about.