Three of Hearts: A Postmodern Family (Thinkfilm, NR)

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Although the S-E-X will surely entice most viewers, the documentary generally skirts around the physical, focusing instead on the emotional side of the romance, as each person tells their side of the how-we-make-it-work story: Samantha is thrilled to be doted on by two charming men. Three of Hearts documents the loving 13-year relationship between two bisexual men and one woman, a trio who lives together, owns a thriving business together, and sleeps together.

Director Susan Kaplan began filming this self-described “trinogomous” relationship five years into it, and one of the first scenes shows the effervescent Samantha Singh taking a pregnancy test, unsure which of her two husbands—the charismatic massage therapist Sam Cagnina or the more reserved chiropractor Steven Margolin—is the biological father.

Not that it matters to the three parents, who make it clear in their cheerfully optimistic (and often naïve) manner that each of them will play an equal role in raising their child. You see, even though Samantha is legally married to Sam, she is equally in love with Steven, who is equally in love with Sam, who is…well, you get the point.

Although the S-E-X will surely entice most viewers, the documentary generally skirts around the physical, focusing instead on the emotional side of the romance, as each person tells their side of the how-we-make-it-work story: Samantha is thrilled to be doted on by two charming men. Sam savors the security. And good-ol’, go-with-the-flow Steven is the type who shrugged his shoulders and said, “Why not?” when Sam, his boyfriend of seven years, suggested bringing a woman into the relationship.

Even though all marriages have kinks, the documentary isn’t about the trio’s day-to-day problems. There’s also little insight about the relationship’s challenges from family or friends. Instead, for most of the film, things look pretty rosy as the trio reflects on the inner workings of their family and thriving business, and Kaplan relies on the shock factor of a seemingly healthy ménage a trios along with a brief (but jaw-dropping) look into Sam’s juicy childhood to keep the audience hooked.

Until, suddenly, all hell breaks loose.

According to Kaplan’s production notes, it wasn’t until the crew was finishing up that she learned there was trouble in paradise: One of the trio had moved out, and the threesome had suddenly been reduced to a couple. She dispensed any plans to wrap up the project and kept filming for three more years.

Thank goodness!

Because it’s the unraveling of the relationship that truly makes the film. With no legal precedent, it’s fascinating how three people with a heap of hurt feeling between them manage to divide their business and their household, along with working out custody of two young children. And while the future of the two remaining partners is unclear, it remains is intriguing.

A film that started off as a moderately interesting relationship profile is effectively transformed into a politically and socially charged piece of work that’s impossible to not to talk about after the curtain closes. | Emily Spreng Lowery

| Three of Hearts: A Postmodern Family plays at the Winifred-Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University> at 7 p.m., January 20 and 21. Visit www.webster.edu/filmseries for more information.

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