"I want to make movies out of blood, sperm and tears," muses Murphy, the aspiring filmmaker in director Gaspar No's latest entry in his canon as a film provocateur, "Love." There's not much blood, but he has the other two covered.

"I want to make movies out of blood, sperm and tears," muses Murphy, the aspiring filmmaker in director Gaspar Noé's latest entry in his canon as a film provocateur, "Love." There's not much blood, but he has the other two covered.

In case you've somehow missed it, Noé's latest film is making waves for its copious copulation and the fact that it is shot in 3D. The controversy surrounding the film is warranted, but should you go see it for yourself? That depends.

The movie opens on a beautifully lit shot of Murphy (Karl Glusman) and Electra (Aomi Muyock) in bed, manually manipulating each other for nearly four minutes as sweeping music plays us to the scene's quite-literal climax. Welcome to "Love."

The explicit sex is, at least for American audiences sitting in an American movie theater, shocking, but through repeated scenes, that shock tends to wear off, replaced with an odd kind of tenderness.

Cutting from the opening scene, we see Murphy in bed with another woman, Omi (Klara Kristin). He awakens and stumbles around their apartment to pick up their baby, as his internal dialogue tells us how miserable he is here.

The story time-hops back through the story of his relationship with his lost flame, Electra. It is a tale of love, loss and ejaculation.

If you've seen Noé's previous two films, you have some idea what you're in for. His last was the hallucinatory rollercoaster "Enter the Void." Before that was "Irreversible," noted for its reverse-chronological plot and a brutal and borderline unwatchable on-screen rape scene with Monica Bellucci - one of the few such scenes I would defend as integral to the plot for the devastating effect it has on what comes before and after.

"Love" is a far cry from those films, despite the graphic (and reportedly unsimulated) sex. It's not just the real-time sex that will make you squirm. We watch the highs and screaming lows of a relationship unravel in reverse. Other writers have called it "(500) Days of Ejaculation" or "Annie Hall with money shots."

And for a filmmaker who isn't known for restraint, this is also Noé at his most self-indulgent. There's a baby named Gaspar, and another character named Noé (played by the director). Oh, and there's also Noé's erect penis. So that.

But Noé also has Murphy state one of the film's goals, and one I think it succeeds in: a movie that depicts "sentimental sexuality." We see Murphy and Electra at their ooey-gooey best (no pun intended), laying in bed generally cooing over each other, but we see this after we've seen the fallout of missteps by Murphy and the regret that follows.

While some reduce "Love" to art-house pornography, audiences who go to be titillated might actually find themselves bored. Noé's exploration of "love" is fixated on one couple, one experience, and it can be as annoying as watching a couple make out in public, but it also possesses a strange beauty.

For the brave and the curious, the Gateway Film Center makes us one of just 15 cities in the country with a chance to see "Love" in 3D. I recommend you see for yourself.

"Love"
Opens Friday at the Gateway Film Center
3 ½ stars out of 4