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REVIEW: MADE FOR LOVE sees Cristin Milioti in a dark comedy on toxic tech love

Are you ready to know the thoughts and feelings of your significant other? You might be Made For Love.

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Photograph by John P. Johnson / HBO Max

Ever wanted to share a brain with your partner so that all your thoughts and feelings could be felt at the same time?  Yeah, nope, me neither. And the thirty-something Hazel Green (Cristin Milioti) doesn’t want that either. But unfortunately, for her, being married to a potentially sociopathic tech CEO billionaire Byron Gogol (Billy Magnussen) means she doesn’t get a choice. Made for Love is based on a book of the same name by Alissa Nutting and follows the story of Hazel running away from her husband of ten years only to realize that he has implanted a chip in her brain that will allow her to watch her, track her, and know her thoughts and feelings.

Made for Love is a darkly funny and absurd comedy from Alissa Nutting, Dean Bakopoulos, and Patrick Somerville, set in the not-so-distant future. Billy Magnussen’s Byron Gogol is a not-so-subtle tech billionaire who reminds us of the Elon Musks and Jeff Bezos of the world. Wealthy beyond compare and living in his own crazy compound, he lives a manicured and seemingly perfect life. He’s got his own literal world, employees who keep him updated on the business, a loving wife, and even a dolphin named Zelda to swim with in his pool.

But it’s quickly obvious that Byron is not the most trustworthy or empathetic of people and his wife is not as happy as she might make herself seem. In a similar vein to Prime Video’s Upload, Made for Love examines a culture of people attached to technology and obsessed with it. Hazel’s life, even cloistered in Byron’s compound alone, is made to seem idyllic because of technology. Her home is pristine, everything is smooth and glossy and clean. But beneath the surface, there is something rotten in the state of Gogol.

Photograph by John P. Johnson / HBO MaxMade foor Love

Perhaps years ago Byron was a more loving husband and a bit more empathetic, but his devotion has taken a sour turn. Did Hazel enjoy her 3248th orgasm? He would like a five-star rating. Why would she want to leave their perfect little cube? She’s got sunny days and perfect weather. Is she tired? It’s time for her scheduled nap.

He’s so committed to love, he’s ready to submit himself and Hazel as Users One for the Made for Love chip. “Comingled hearts, comingled minds, comingled identities. Secrets dismantled. Pure. Union,” says the serene ad for the chip. Except, there’s a small issue on the synchronization of the chip and only Hazel gets the chip. I guess Byron probably doesn’t want his wife inside of his head all the time, imagine that.

Milioti and Magnussen are in their perfect roles here. Milioti leans into her bright smile and perfect-wife persona while her true thoughts hide bitterness and resentment after being kept as a prisoner in her marriage for the past decade. Magnussen embodies what you’d imagine a tech-savvy, genius billionaire might be. Striking blue eyes, bronze blonde hair, and perfect suits all topped off with a shark-like smile. Both of their perfect veneers quickly fade as the story kicks off.

Having just seen the pilot episode for SXSW, I can tell this series is about to be a wild ride. With eight episodes waiting in the wings, Made for Love is set to premiere three episodes on April 1st, 2021. Three more episodes will air the following week on April 8th, and then the final two on April 15th.

Catch Made for Love tomorrow, April 1, 2021 on HBO Max.

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