The Laws of Thermodynamics (Las leyes de la termodinámica) – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

The Laws of Thermodynamics's title card featuring a burning boat.
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The Laws of Thermodynamics goes so deep into the science of physics, that it makes the romances advertised feel like a bait and switch.


Director(s) Mateo Gil
Screenplay By Mateo Gil
Date Released 8/31/2018
Genre(s) Romance, Drama
Good If You Like Science – To The Point of Reading Books and Majoring It In College
Noted Cast
Manel Vito Sanz
Elena Berta Vázquez
Pablo Chino Darín
Eva Vicky Luengo

Summary

Manel is an astrophysicist. One whose big-time thesis deals with relating how the laws of thermodynamics, physics really, can correlate with human attraction and relationships. Leading to both his relationship with Elena, as well as his friend Pablo’s relationship with Eva, and others, being used for examples. But, to really drive home the science, at least a dozen scientist also provide commentary which sometimes goes beyond understanding the two relationships but how the universe expanding will lead to either a crunch or rip. I’m talking, junior level college courses, maybe senior or masters level, science. Which may turn you off from the central romance.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Considering how bad the breakup was, why in the hell did Elena invite Manel to her wedding?

Highlights

You Do Get Invested Into The Relationships

The lead characters of The Laws of Thermodynamics.

Towards the beginning, before I felt like we got college course level science, I was really into how the science coincided with the relationships. The three laws made enough sense to get it, and with seeing the ups and downs of Manel dating Elena, I got a relationship to invest in. One which may have been interrupted a bit too much by exposition to swoon about, but it worked for what the film wanted to say – at first.

On The Fence

While The Science Can Be Interesting, It Goes Way Too Deep

The Laws of Thermodynamics I’m going to compare to another film which uses science to explain love and human behavior, The Female Brain. When it comes to The Female Brain things are made to be much more simple and there is a stronger reliance on the examples than breaking down the science. With that, you are drawn more into the relationships, how they work, as well as how human genetics plays a role.

With The Laws of Thermodynamics, however, it is flipped. The relationships used for examples remain important, and there are still visuals used to break things down, but the science is taken much more seriously. There isn’t this balance between giving what you need to know but not overwhelming you with the science. This film goes so deep that, even with it explaining, I feel like I’d need to take a basic physics class to really grasp what was being said.

But what makes this film worse is it has characters which question Manel’s theory and say they don’t get it. Making it feel like the writer knew a lot of what was said would go over viewers heads. Which, with this not being a comedy, that kind of self-awareness is a tell in the worse way possible.

Yet, with all this said, I feel like if you knew or had interest in what was spoken about, you’d find yourself wanting to do some research. Like, for example, the idea of the universe expanding to the point of ripping or then crunching, there is a serious desire to Google that and see if it is true. Because I have never heard of the Big Rip or Big Crunch before.

Overall: Mixed (Divisive)

Elena noting Manel is rushing things a bit too much with their relationship.
Elena:You might be going a little fast for me but everything’s fine, okay?

The main issues with The Laws of Thermodynamics is it bogs itself down in the science to the point it barely pursues the entertainment. It’s like a bait and switch. The real goal was to do a movie on physics and the science behind love, but who would finance that? So, a good enough story about a scientist who messes up his relationship, and his whore of a best friend, was crafted to get paid to do the research and speak to experts. Who, assumingly, aren’t just actors. To be honest, none of them have the kind of personality which make it where you even care to check.

Leading to the mixed label. If you lack an interest in science, beyond the basics, this film might be a struggle for you. Especially since the subtitles stop when people speak English. Which is when they explain everything and with words which may seem unfamiliar and theories which are complicated, knowing what the person was saying exactly could have helped. At least if you are like me who rely on subtitles as a backup to understand what someone is saying. So, I truly believe, unless physics has a special place in your heart, you might want to be wary of this one.

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Available only on Netflix.


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