My Body My Choice
In some ways her father wasn't surprised when he found Susan (Mary Stuart Masterson - Black and Blue) and her friend unconcious on the floor, having popped pills which she had stolen from her cancer ridden grandfather, as he once was an alcoholic. It is why Susan's parents force her into rehab which after an incident in a lake and a visit to hospital it is discovered that Susan has cancer and will need to start treatment immediately. After the drama of losing her hair Susan meets Brian (Ricky Paull Goldin) and they fall deeply in love with Susan becoming pregnant. But that leads to a huge decision as Susan requires regular treatment for her cancer which would affect the baby.
They were young and in love, she was dying from cancer and just for good measure she is having their baby. That sums up "Love Lives On" in the space of just a few words, although of course it doesn't because we have the dilemma which comes from the risks of being pregnant for someone who needs constant cancer treatment. And on that level, and taking in to account that "Love Lives On" is a product of the 80s, it is an effective drama with less romanticism which you would find in a similar movie if it was made now.
Part of that effectiveness of "Love Lives On" comes from the casting of Mary Stuart Masterson as Susan as she has that pluck and fight about her which makes her kind of attractive as a teenage rebel. But at the same time Masterson has also an element of likeability which makes it easy to sympathize with her as she goes through the cancer treatment and so on, especially when it comes to the dilemma of treatment or baby.
But "Love Lives On", especially during the opening scenes, has that feel of an after school special. From Susan stealing pills from her grandparents to her and her friend knocking them back in an over the top manner it comes across as too forced. It isn't just the lead up which has this issue as every now and then when the movie attempts to be informative it feels like it has been shoe horned into the emotional story and ending up feeling not so much out of place but out of synch with the rest of the movie.
What this all boils down to is that "Love Lives On" is in truth more of an interesting movie rather than an entertaining one as it shows how a storyline which is still used now was told back in the 1980s. But it isn't just interesting from a movie technique point of view as whilst flawed in some ways the emotion is there as is a decent performance from Mary Stuart Masterson to still make "Love Lives On" watch-able.