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Adore

Posted by martinteller on September 16, 2013

Roz (Robin Wright) and Lil (Naomi Watts) have been best friends since childhood.  Now they’re grown up, and each has an 18-year-old son.  Roz’s son Tom (James Frecheville) and Lil’s son Ian (Xavier Samuel) are also best friends.  Lil’s husband is deceased, and Roz’s husband Harold (Ben Mendelsohn) has just taken a teaching position in faraway Sydney.  While he’s gone, Ian seduces Roz.  And then Tom seduces Lil.  And then Roz says she and Tom won’t be coming along to Sydney.  And the four continue their lusty adventures over the next two years, until Tom’s eyes start to wander.

This is terrible.  Director Anne Fontaine takes potentially intriguing subject matter of a taboo nature and turns it into the laughable, vapid, boring cinematic equivalent of a trashy romance novel.  One senses an aspiration to make a film in the vein of Eric Rohmer, but there isn’t a shred of Rohmer’s insight into how humans actually talk and behave.  Psychological depth is replaced with an endless litany of shots of the characters staring into the distance, trying to look thoughtful… perhaps contemplating whether they should fire their agents.

There is no connection to reality here.  Nothing about this sounds like real people having real conversations or making real decisions.  We have no sense of how these relationships function.  What do they talk about?  Do they ever question what they’re doing?  Do they have friends who know (apparently there are friends around, because Tom’s birthday party is magically populated with people, even though we’ve never seen the four principals interact with anyone else before that point)?  Do they have fights?  They seem to be just merrily screwing their brains out — in horribly clichéd and idealized love scenes — without a care in the world.  And so they come off like four profoundly stupid and self-absorbed nitwits.  Frankly, it’s an insult to human sexuality to reduce it to such empty-headed impulses.  We’re not even given the lurid pleasure of enjoying the kinkiness of the whole affair because no one seems to think about it.

I kept hoping the movie would turn out to be a satire, that somewhere there’d be signs of a tongue planted in the cheek.  The dialogue is a laugh riot, but you don’t get the sense that that was the intention.  Just poorly written lines.  I wanted these four characters to be gobbled up by sharks or something, especially as the film drags on and on and on, becoming more and more idiotic and empty as it goes.

The scenery is lovely, and the four actors are about the most attractive specimens you could hope for, but beyond eye candy there’s nothing to see here.  Rating: Crap (22)

IMDb
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3 Responses to “Adore”

  1. Exactly my thoughts! What happen the the primal protectiveness a mother feels about her son? Neither of the mothers cared a whit about what my be happening with their own sons.

    • Good point. In fact, you wouldn’t think either one of them was a mother if the film didn’t tell us so. The movie wants to capitalize on the intriguing taboo of the situation, but does none of the work to get there.

  2. Written before my morning coffee, obviously.

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