With Love and a Major Organ Wholeheartedly Showcases Connection in a Tech-Driven World of Magic Realism

The award-winning film from Vancouver-based director Kim Albright received much praise after its initial festival appearances and is sure to garner attention in its upcoming theatrical release.

A still of With Love and a Major Organ

With Love and a Major Organ takes place in a dystopian place where detachment from emotions is encouraged and expected, as people’s lives are directed by technology, namely an app that offers advice on how to pick an ideal partner or engage in conversation with a friend. In this world, hearts inside bodies are inanimate objects such as paper, lanterns, or even a hermit crab, each a different flashing light and colour.

Anabel (played by Anna Maguire) is a Virtual Insurance broker—assisting distraught people calling in about their accidentally deleted social media page—and painter, who craves an authentic human connection in a no-nonsense societal culture. Anabel meets George (played by Hamza Haq) by chance in a park and instantly feels a spark despite his unemotional demeanour. Muted tones depict the dystopian setting but lift when Anabel is at home, surrounded by a purple aura-like glow. With her loving feelings, she paints vibrant pictures and recites poetic love letters to George into a tape recorder.


A still from With Love and a Major Organ


After rejections and a death in the family, Anabel attempts to separate herself from her overwhelming emotions and rips her heart out of her chest. She gives it to the man she is smitten with, George, who in turn takes it for himself and runs off, embracing the unfelt deep feelings that came with Anabel’s heart. Anabel, left with a cavity in her chest, will drift into a lifeless state and die if she doesn’t find George and find the courage to take her heart back.

Filmed in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island, the world that Anabel and George live in operates as “a world not quite like ours but somewhat like ours, there are some elements that are kind of ramped up,” says the film’s director, Kim Albright.

With Love and a Major Organ was adapted from the play written by Julia Lederer, a playwright and actor from Toronto. The play debuted at Toronto’s Fringe Festival in 2012, earning two awards: Patron’s Pick and Best of Fringe. In 2017, Albright, who is now based in Vancouver, was introduced to Lederer by Maguire, a mutual friend, and saw the play could be the makings of a film. In the play, Anabel’s heart was a “fleshy, beating heart,” but in the developmental stages of Lederer’s script it was reenvisioned to hearts as objects and incorporating magical realism into the script.



Film director Kim Albright


“I love those elements of the script that allow you to really kind of opened up your mind and your imagination into these other worlds, like Annabel’s imagination,” Albright says. “I like the dance sequence or when she’s recording kind of the poetic words love letter to George, like, I thought those are opportunities to really kind of explore things visually.”

With Love and a Major Organ has premiered around the world, with its official world premiere at South by Southwest last year. The film has earned awards including “Best Narrative Feature (Santa Fe International Film Festival), Best Cinematography (Reelworld Film Festival), and Best Feature Film (Reelworld Film Festival, Canadian Film Festival, and Boston Underground Film Festival).


A still from With Love and a Major Organ


The originality of With Love and a Major Organ’s resembles that of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, sprinkled with comedic moments like in the British humour in Fleabag. It’s “a drama with elements of comedy,” Albright says, “and this is the interesting bit, some fantasy and horror festivals dig it” by way of the visceral experience of removing a heart shown in the film. Punctuated by colour and impressive comedic timing, the film leave us questioning what measures we would take to regulate our emotions, especially from heartbreak, and is sure to tug a few heartstrings.

With Love and a Major Organ’s release in Canadian theatres is April 12.