on September 21, 2013
Man, this movie keeps you guessing, builds great tension, and has some of the best moments I've seen all year. There is no nudity and nearly no violence, but that doesn't stop it from being an absolute thrill ride. America made movies like this once upon a time, but at least Australia and other foreign countries can still produce good, edgy, thoughtful drama.
'Adore' is a quiet little film that seems to have missed the theaters because of the topic. It is a lush, descriptive film of love, the wrong kind for these characters. It was sometimes difficulty viewing because of the graphic material. The acting is outstanding, and the surroundings glorious.
Naomi Watts, plays Lil and Robin Wright, plays Roz. They have been best friends sincechildhood. They both live in beautiful homes near the ocean in Australia. They both have families, Lil's husband died in an accident. The sons, of Lil and Roz, Ian and Tom have grown up together and are best friends. Roz's husband has taken a new position in Sydney and is rarely home. Both women are in their forties, facing the downside of life, and somehow they can't seem to find the right man.
Their sons are now men of about 20. They all hang out together, and one thing leads to another. Roz stops the affair, and Lil tries to do the same. Both men marry and have children. And, then ,all H*** breaks loose, and lives are upset and , the now grandmothers find themselves in the same boat. This is a film of loneliness and searching, mistakes and love, and messes that change people's lives.
The script came from a book by Doris Lessing, called 'The Grandmothers'. This is a chancey film that hits the right notes, but it seems the subject matter turned people off. A brave film that is perfect for discussion. Robin Wright and Naomi Watts are perfection in these roles. A Gould film if the mood suits you.
Recommended. prisrob 12-14-13
on February 16, 2014
First a disclaimer: if you've led a sheltered existence or believe that some ancient text originating from a tribe of goat herders in a remote desert millennia ago contains everything you need to know about life, you might not want to watch this film. Why? Because it's about real life. There's no rubbishy faux emotions, nonsense plot, huge CGI effects, or endless car chases and gun battles. It's a real movie about real people. The direction and camerawork are all put to the service of the story and the acting, which places this movie in the same category as The Lives of Others and House of Sand and Fog. You need an attention span to watch this film. You need to let it carry you along at its own pace, devoid of snappy jump-cuts and mindless action scenes.
Some reviewers seem to have had problems dealing with the subject, which is simply that the teenage sons of two life-long friends fall in love, each with the mother of the other. Apparently this scenario isn't covered in the Big Hollywood/Disney Book of Life. Fortunately the film makers weren't overly concerned with limited conceptions of human feeling, and this movie gracefully explores - without gloss or varnish - the joys and the pains of what follows in consequence. Any middle-aged person who's ever felt the stirrings of attraction for a younger person will sympathize with the magnetic pull of this dynamic, and any young person who's ever felt attracted to a more mature person will likewise know the feeling of wanting to "own" that person and monopolize their attention.
And anyone who's ever experienced any kind of affair will know about the tribulations that can result, due to the expectations and attitudes of others.
What's lovely about this movie is that it explores all the avenues - the women's insecurities about their age, overlaying their knowledge that what they have, though marvelous, is necessarily fleeting. The young men unconsciously playing at being older than their years. The reactions of outsiders. The unintentional cruelties of love and obsession. It's all explored delicately but without flinching.
The acting is very good. The initial hesitation that ultimately gives way to uncontrolled passion is very well done. The insecurities, jealousies, and inevitable pain is also beautifully rendered, always understated. There's no intrusive "mood music" to tell us what to feel. There's just a balanced character study that unfolds ineluctably, always watchable and always poignant.
If you want to learn about human nature - real human nature, not the paper nonsense of DisneyWood - this is a great little movie. Plus the scenery is stunning and should make almost everyone want to pack up and move to Australia.
on November 26, 2013
I had a chance to see this on a foreign-made DVD, and found the movie an interesting adaptation of the late, Nobel Prize Winning, author Doris Lessing's novella quite well-done. While the movie -- and the novella -- deal s with delicate subject matter, it is in no way taboo. Because: the women, the two mothers, become infatuated -- and fall in love with -- each other's sons, NOT their own! And, because the affair takes place in Australia. After living here for a while, I discovered -- by reading newspapers and reading about the laws (mind you) -- that, until recently, they DIDN'T consider it statutory rape or sex with a minor if the teens in question were 16 or 17 and above . I believe that has changed, now, but for the period when this film -- and the novella -- were set in, guys of 17 years of age (which the two sons seem to be) were considered "legal".
The premise is highly unlikely, but if Lessing had had only one mother fall in love with the other's son, it would have been too easy to have ALL of the characters treat only her as a pariah. Basically, one mother (played by Robin Wright) gives into her own lust -- and that of her friend's son, who kisses her -- one night. When the affair is discovered by the character played by Naomi Watts (and by the son of Wright's character) -- the other mother is reluctantly, and drunkenly, persuaded into an affair.
The two MOST interesting dynamics of these fictional affairs are 1) How everyone reacts to the idea of an OLDER WOMAN having an affair with a younger man (both in the film, and in the comments, especially those from fellow Americans, most of whom are ALWAYS uptight when the subject of sex is broached), and 2) the fact that the women are so in love with each other's sons -- and in one case, vice-versa -- that the future marriages of the young men are adversely affected.
While people of a every class and every creed and color are always quick to figuratively "burn the offending parties at the stake" when it comes to May/December affairs or love affairs that don't fit within the boundaries of what most humans deem normal, it's interesting to note that when real love hits very few people can resist it.
In any case, an interesting subject delicately approached by the French director Ann Fontaine and by screenwriter Christopher Hampton, and well-acted by Robin Wright and Naomi Watts, and shot (in part) in and around Australia, which has some beautiful shorelines (not just in New South Wales, but Victoria and Queensland, South and West Australia as well).
The audience is polarized in response to this astonishingly refreshing and brilliant little film: some are completely disgusted with the theme of `aberrant love' while other are awash in the courageous work by director Anne Fontaine, Fontaine and Christopher Hampton's adaptation of Doris Lessing's short story `The Grandmothers', and the acting by two of our finest actresses on the screen. Knowing that it is both loved and hated depending on the degree of appreciation for experimental film should be the driving force as to whether or not to take advantage witnessing this brave new film.
In New South Wales, Roz (Robin Wright), her husband Harold (Ben Mendelsohn) and their son Tom (James Frecheville) live near the beach. Lil, (Naomi Watts) who is a widow, lives nearby with her son Ian (Xavier Samuel). Roz and Lil are best friends, and so are Tom and Ian. Harold applies for and is offered a job in Sydney without telling Roz. He expects Roz to move to Sydney with him, however, she hesitates. After a night of drinking quite unexpectedly on the surface Ian and Roz start a sexual relationship. Tom discovers this and takes revenge by initiating a sexual relationship with Lil. Now Roz has even more reason to stay, and later Roz and Harold divorce. Two years of these two mothers/best friend's sons affairs pass but not without the inference that Roz and Lil are lesbians - a way for Lil to avoid the approach of a suitor Saul (Gary Sweet). Harold returns from Sydney and his new highly enviable job in the theater department and discovers the affairs and summarily absents himself from the situation and from Roz. There are hesitations, but these do not last long and the secret relationships continue. Eventually Tom goes to Sydney for a promising job interview in the theater. His visit to Sydney changes everything for four of them - the nasty truth has its way to come out and alter everybody's happy lives. The rest of the film is a rapidly moving progression of changing affinities and eventual strange resolutions.
The nuanced performances by Robin Wright and Naomi Watts are brilliant and very equally balanced with the sensuous and realistic portrayals By Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville. The chemistry is extraordinary and credible and makes what could have been a strained story work meticulously well. The cinematography by Christophe Beaucarne and the musical score by Christopher Gordon enhance the liquid flow of this stunning film. The story and the film itself require an emotionally mature audience able to accept variations on the themes of love and lust, but given there are mores to overcome, this is a brilliant art piece. Grady Harp, September 13
on September 25, 2013
I watched this film on Saturday and it is now Wednesday and I am stilling thinking about it. This is an Australian film, so the pace of the story is somewhat different...the crescendos are quieter but the sentinel events are clear. The film explores the boundaries of a friendship and what liberties are accepted and why. Both Naomi Watts and Robin Wright give performances which ring true and are compelling. The young male leads are also quite strong. It's good and surprising story telling.
on November 28, 2013
Lured in by the trailer with the floating pier and sparse dialogue, I saw this film for the seascapes, which are scorchingly beautiful.
The film is not as scandalous as you might imagine. You see the deepening of friendship at the expense of others. Was part of sleeping with each others sons a way to greater intimacy between the women? You see, it wouldn't have worked unless both women/sons were doing it. It would have ignited jealousy between the sons, for one would be losing his mother to his friend. It would have bred resentment between the women, for one would be losing her son to her friend. Because the creation of intimacy is to the exclusion of others, the solution was for none or all four to dive in. But, of course, this is at the expense of those outside the group. It is also, eventually, at the expense of those inside the group. It is as if the intimacy ran away with them, becoming the end, rather the means.
Not to discount the attraction within the couples. One of the couples have thick chemistry and you cannot help but fall a little in love with both the woman and young man. The other couple are less charismatic, maybe even a little pathetic.
One husband accuses his wife of loving their house more than him. I confess I love the scenery more than the characters. Would the story be as acceptable to us in a different setting? In the drowning beauty, we can see how they can be entrenched in their surroundings, a little too in love with each other. We can blame the sea.
on December 31, 2013
I only stopped once when watching it. I went back to it. That is not always the case these days. Movies are plentiful, but there are
not many that I watch to the end. Controversial subject, maybe uncomfortable for some to watch.
on July 11, 2014
Yes, the film’s premise seems controversial enough. Two childhood friends Roz (Robin Wright) and Lil (Naomi Watts), now middle-aged, start to have sexual affairs with each other's son Ian (Xavier Samuel) and Tom (James Frecheville). However, while some find the story of this Australian-French film very provocative, I find it pretty boring.
In short, despite its unusual subject matter, the film itself is too tame. Based on a novella “The Grandmothers” by a Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing, and adapted by Christopher Hampton, “Adore” (aka. “Two Mothers”), the film obviously wants to be taken seriously, even though most characters are shallow at best, and storytelling perfunctory.
Directed by Anne Fontaine, “Adore” lacks insight into the characters’ relationships, especially that of love between a (younger) man and (older) woman. Two young actors are decent, but still fail to live up to the level of Robin Wright and Naomi Watt, who are both excellent, providing a credible portrayal of the bond between two lifelong friends (that seems even stronger than anything else).
In fact, those two talented players Robin Wright and Naomi Watt (and perhaps Australia’s beautiful sea) are the only reason that you should watch “Adore.” They are fascinating, but not the story.
on September 13, 2013
I loved this movie. It showed a strong bond, friendship between two woman that couldn't be broken. The story line is a different but done in good taste.