Love Streams is a 1984 American film directed by John Cassavetes that tells the story of a middle-aged brother and sister who find themselves caring for one another after the other loves in their lives abandon them. The film was Cassavetes’ 11th and penultimate film. He later made the more mainstream Big Trouble.
Undergoing a messy divorce, Sarah Lawson visits her brother Robert Harmon, an alcoholic playboy and writer who is in a relationship with a professional singer. Robert is visited by his ex-wife, who forces him to take care of their eight-year-old son, whom he has never met before, for 24 hours.
Robert’s son is terrified by the hedonistic and decadent world of his father and begs to be taken home following an overnight trip to Las Vegas. After dropping him off, Robert is beaten up by the boy’s stepfather, after which his son testifies his love for Robert.
Fleeing the scene, Robert returns home to take care of his sister, his “best friend.” Sarah tries with some success to curb the nihilistic self-destruction of Robert’s life and simultaneously deal with her own depression and divorce, while Robert struggles between his intense desire to protect his sister and the challenge of accepting her freedom as the necessary cost of love.