If there’s one thing we could get humans to agree on today, it might be the idea that love isn’t what it used to be—or at least not how we thought it was based on the one-layer depictions of our grandparents and the love stories we saw in movies. The anthology series Modern Love, inspired by The New York Times column of the same name, explores the many facets of romantic relationships present in our world today and recently made its return to Amazon Prime with a particularly relevant tale starring Sophie Okonedo and Tobias Menzies.
In their episode, “A Second Embrace, With Hearts and Eyes Open,” Okonedo and Menzies star as a divorced couple who suddenly find themselves back in love with each other, but at different paces. Menzies’s character falls first, but it takes a life-threatening health issue for Okonedo’s character to see she can open herself up to love again with her ex-husband.
“It’s kind of this funny thing,” Okonedo tells ESSENCE of the story line. “They were together and they split up and often when you see couples that have split up on television, they’re at each other’s throats. This one, they’re kind of just living their lives. They’ve split up but they managed to share looking after their children and they get along fine and then something happens to her where she just suddenly realizes she’s deeply back in love with him again and it sort of surprises her. She didn’t see it coming even though other people could perhaps see it coming.”
It’s that stupefying revelation that makes the story and its representation of modern-day love universal, Okonedo adds. Noting the way the ex-husband is able to support his ex-wife during her diagnosis, she says, “Maybe 15 years back they couldn’t have done that for each other. Suddenly it was just the right time and the stars were aligned.”
It’s that narrative that’s reminiscent of the fairy-tale type of love many of us were exposed to as kids and the notion a number of adults still hold on to today, which is that if something’s meant to be it’ll be. “Sometimes love feels like it could so easily pass them by,” Okonedo notes. “You could’ve easily just not done that thing at that moment for that to happen.” As for love not passing this couple by, she adds, “It’s sort of magic isn’t it?”
Season 2 of Modern Love is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.