April 8, 2019  (Web Review)

Lovesick

(2018) 74 min. In English, Tamil & Hindi w/English subtitles. DVD: $89: public libraries; $350: colleges & universities. Women Make Movies (www.wmm.com). PPR.

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

Lovesick centers on Dr. Suniti Solomon, a microbiologist who found a way to combine her interest in love with her expertise in medicine. In 1986, she discovered India’s first case of HIV. She started by testing sex workers, and found that six out of 100 were infected. She is also a widow who was happily married for 43 years. Solomon has become a matchmaker for HIV+ patients, whose prognosis tends to improve when they find a partner. In this film, she does her part to bring two patients together. Because of the stigma attached to HIV and AIDS in India, co-directors Ann S. Kim and Priya Giri Desai avoid showing their subjects’ faces, although they don’t disguise Solomon in any way. Karthik, 38, says that he would have married years ago if he didn’t have HIV, which he believes he contracted through a blood transfusion after a car accident. It took him two years to tell his brother and seven years to tell his parents, who—fortunately—have been supportive. Manu, 34, entered into an arranged marriage when she was younger. After she became pregnant, the doctor informed her that she was HIV+. Her husband, who had the virus, never told her. With her parents’ permission, she divorced. “My life is better because I’m positive,” she says. “That has made me a humble human being.” She brings that optimistic attitude into her relationship with Karthik. During her lifetime, Solomon, who died in 2015, brought dozens of such couples together, bringing happiness into their lives and contributing to the de-stigmatization of HIV in India. An uplifting profile, this is recommended. Aud: C, P. (K. Fennessy)