Contributed By Esther Ang
The movie opens with a heart-warming prelude of proud parents, Emilia (Portman) and Jack (Scott Cohen) in the delivery ward with their newborn, Isabel. Fast-forward to the present, and we see an out-of-sorts Emilia trying to be a good stepmother to William (Charlie Tahan) while coping with the apparent death of Isabel. Her marriage to Jack, already under strain from the caustic treatment she receives from his ex-wife Carolyn (Lisa Kudrow), unravels further as she puts up a defensive front against her loved ones.
Her increasingly eccentric behavior soon manifests in her incapability to care for her stepson and things come to a head when she has a public breakdown. At first, the audience is led to think that her decline into angst is caused by her unresolved bitterness toward her father, but the final act reveals a secret she has been harboring, one that proves too heavy for her alone to shoulder.
Portman juggles her role as a grieving mother, a struggling stepmother and an untruthful wife with compelling depth, drawing the audience into Emilia’s sea of emotions. Love And Other Impossible Pursuits is a hit-or-miss—some might find it too draggy, but the rawness with which it depicts the struggles of a person wracked with guilt and sorrow makes for a heart-warming bowl of chicken soup for grieving souls.