BE careful what you wish for.

That is the message in Andrey Zvyagintsev’s dark and soul searching film, Loveless.

The story focuses on a bitter divorce through the lens of a modern couple in Russia who got married because of an unplanned pregnancy.

The film enters their lives in the last stages of their separation while they are selling their broken home.

Zhenya and Boris are unhappy and are only concerned about their social media profiles, how they are perceived and their own contentment. And following a heartbreaking and powerful scene when their son Alyosha overhears his parents say he was – and continues to be – unwanted the 12-year-old disappears.

Zvyagintsev and producer Alexander Rodnyansky were also behind the BAFTA and Oscar nominated Leviathan.

And Loveless features equally bleak but beautiful cinematography that matches the tone and temperature of the uncompromising story and setting.

One of the film’s problems though is that, apart from a key scene early on, Alyosha does not get much screen time.

His dire situation, which many people will be able to relate to, makes him one of the most interesting characters and yet he is barely developed, limiting our ability to sympathise with him.

Many viewers may also be frustrated by how open-ended the film is. Art house pictures tend to leave everything unresolved while Hollywood movies are usually obsessed with tying up every loose end. Somewhere down the middle may have been more satisfying for this tale. Nevertheless it is Zvyagintsev’s scathing attack on modern life rather than the story itself that will stay with you. Zhenya and Boris’s lives are marked by resentment and recriminations.

They are unable to sacrifice and put their son first – until it is too late – and you wonder with a heavy heart how true that might be for many real families.

  • Loveless is released on Friday and can be watched at Home in Manchester

RATING: 6.5/10