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Certified Copy (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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An author on tour to promote his book has an apparently chance meeting with a French woman (Juliette Binoche), and their encounter proves to be something far more than casual. He proposes in his book that a copy, an imitation, is as good as the genuine article, and while he appears to confine his thesis to works of art, what follows suggests that she may be testing to see how far it extends to life itself. The latest film by celebrated Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami is also his first to be filmed outside of his native country. Starring Juliette Binoche (who took home the best actress award at Cannes for her stunningly enigmatic performance in this film), Certified Copy starts from a premise that promises an exotic love story, and gradually turns into a subtle and profound meditation on art, memory, truth, and identity.
To give a quick sense of the feel of this remarkable film I might suggest it combines the conversational intimacy of Before Sunset and the intellectual intrigue of Last Year at Marienbad. The problem is that comparison makes this seem like a derivative work, that merely copies elements of established works. It's not. Like all of the works I've seen by Abbas Kiarostami, this is a true original. Or if its a copy, it's a genuine copy. It's a fascinating film, that I've seen twice now, and that I look forward to watching again, since I got even more from it the second time.Read more ›
"Certified Copy" is a similar dialogue-driven film that takes place in a small village in Tuscany during the course of one day. It's the story of a middle-aged art dealer (Binoche) who invites a British author on tour (Shimel) for a day in the countryside. As the two visit the various museums, churches, and trattorias, and as their conversation progresses, we find there's more to the relationship than meets the eye, and from there the plot takes some completely unexpected turns.
Despite what the trailer makes you believe, this is not a romantic movie about seduction; it's an intelligent and philosophical film about how our expectations affect our perspective, about originality and point of view. It's also a daring puzzle of a movie, and it engages you in the game without you even knowing it.
Binoche is radiant in this film, showing emotions with every raised eyebrow, telling entire stories without saying a word. She actually puts a spell on you! And shifting effortlessly between English, French, and Italian, her charismatic persona drives this minimalistic film from one scene to the next.
Like a good piece of art, "Certified Copy" gives you plenty of room to make your own interpretations, and like a good brain game, it will make you think, a lot.
There are differing opinions as to what exactly transpires in this film. Certainly it's open to more than one interpretation. One is that James and the woman (Binoche), although initially not married or even acquainted, "take on" the roles of estranged husband and wife. This interpretation seems very unconvincing to me, since there is no motive as to why they should do this, nor why James should treat this charming and attractive woman in such a shabby way, if they were just playing roles. If they are only playing at being husband and wife, then what is the point of the movie?
After viewing the film several times, it seemed clear to me that they had once been lovers, she had gotten pregnant, they had hastily married, then later separated from one another. The film (mostly) hangs together with this interpretation, but not entirely. There is one spot where James asks the woman "Where (or when) did you get married?", as if he has no idea that he is her husband. Also, James has no memory at all of their wedding night, or where they were married. Nor has he much interest in her young son.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent movie. You have to watch carefully. A movie you think about for days after you watch it.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Beautiful thoughtful tri lingual story but difficult to feel completely connected to the characters.Published 2 months ago by Ann DuBois
The wide range of reviews on this page tells you something right away -- reaction to this film is intense, whether positive or negative. Read morePublished 3 months ago by William Timothy Lukeman
I annoyed this movie. I really like Juliette Binoche, and the Italion setting is perfect.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
An un-named woman (so let's call her Elle) played by Juliette Binoche, who owns an antique shop went to a book-launching event to meet the author, James Miller (William Shimell)... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Sisyphus
Certified Copy is cynical and postmodern and may be true to the reality of some. The style of the performance is a kind of anguished improv (which is certainly different). Read morePublished 4 months ago by rbrogan3
Great movie. Focuses on the concepts of meaning (matter and what matters) and the battle of rationality vs spirituality. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ray
I don't normally do well with subtitles but something made me keep watching this movie (some of the dialogue was in English, some French and then the last half was in Italian). Read morePublished 7 months ago by L. Young
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