The Face of Love…a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

June 3, 2014 by Roz Tarszisz
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There are a few questions that occurred to me during the screening of this film. Is it going to be one for the gal-pals or would it work for a grownup date night?  Could two people both still be so passionately in love after 30 years of marriage?   Is not Annette Bening even more beautiful now that she is a mature woman?

The answers can be both yes and no to all the above but there is a resounding yes to the last one.

Annette Bening plays Nikki, a woman in her mid fifties, who had been very happily married to Garrett (Ed Harris) for 30 years. We meet her five years after he drowned and she is still grieving.  The flashbacks and set up portrays her ongoing grief and stasis so convincingly that we start to wonder when the story will take off in the present.

She lives in a fabulous, modern house in Los Angeles that Garrett built for her and leads a quiet life.  Chancing on the living double of her dead husband at an art museum she stalks him – there is no other way to describe her actions – until she gets to know him. Tom (Ed Harris) is a decent man, a long divorced art teacher, and we watch as he inevitably falls in love with this charming woman.

Nikki knows what she is doing is wrong but she can’t seem to help herself, or tell Tom the truth as he becomes more attached to her.  When Tom tells his ex-wife that no one has ever looked at him the way Nikki does, we know there will be trouble ahead.

Garrett was deeply uxorious and they had a vibrant relationship.. The emerging affair between Tom and Nikki is handled in a credible and subtle way. After all, she is rather lovely and he is appealing in his craggy maturity.

There are no side stories to distract from the budding romance. Robin Williams is subdued as Roger,  her admirer, friend and neighbour while Jess Weixler is good as her daughter, Summer.

Tom regains his lost desire to paint.   Ed Harris played the artist Jackson Pollock some years ago so has had some practice.  But this is a vehicle for Bening and we get to know how she is feeling by watching her expressive face. 

While we guess it all might end badly when the truth emerges – no spoiler here – there is a bit of a punch at the end. This is a slightly old fashioned and straight forward narrative, but you do care about the outcome.

 

The film is beautifully shot and the apposite music never intrudes.   Ms Bening is a joy to watch and worth the admission price.  Just leave your cynics badge at the door.

 

3.5 out of 5                                              Rating: M

Directed by Arie Posin

Stars Annette Bening, Ed Harris, Robin Williams

Screenplay by Arie Posen and Matthew McDuffie

In cinemas June 12

 

 

Trailer:

 

3.5 out of 5                                              Rating: M

Directed by Arie Posin

Stars Annette Bening, Ed Harris, Robin Williams

Screenplay by Arie Posin and Matthew McDuffie

In cinemas June 12

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