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Monogamy (2011)

Rashida Jones , Chris Messina , Dana Adam Shapiro  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Rashida Jones, Chris Messina, Meital Dohan
  • Directors: Dana Adam Shapiro
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories
  • DVD Release Date: June 14, 2011
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004SC9LXS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,634 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Wedding photographer Theo (Chris Messina) and his budding musician fiancée Nat (Rashida Jones) are a young couple living a comfortable life in Brooklyn. Thoroughly bored with his day job and increasingly anxious about his upcoming wedding, Theo embarks upon a risky and adventurous side project: he's hired by clients to clandestinely snap voyeuristic photos as they go about their days. Things go smoothly until a sexy new customer's (Meital Dohan) very public exhibitionism sparks an obsession in Theo. As he captures her day and night, the woman's mysterious trysts and illicit behavior send him reeling, forcing him to confront uncomfortable truths about his sex life and his relationship at home.

A voyeuristic, extremely earnest look at The Way We Are Now, Monogamy is an insightful take on modern relationships that occasionally succumbs to pretension. Director-cowriter Dana Adam Shapiro's film follows a frustrated wedding photographer (Chris Messina) who runs a side business where people pay to be covertly spied on, catching them unawares during their daily routines. After recording an extremely private moment with a mysterious blond woman, the photographer becomes quickly obsessed with her, endangering his already precarious relationship with his fiancée (a very good Rashida Jones). Shapiro, who previously codirected the exceptional documentary Murderball, proves to be exceptional at transferring over the nonfiction feel, creating a living, breathing Brooklyn chock full of interesting bit players. Unfortunately, the filmmaker proves less successful when dealing with his main story, with a protagonist whose whiny self-absorption makes him increasingly hard to sympathize with. (Those with hipster aversions should be aware that Pabst Blue Ribbon does make an appearance.) That said, the idea of technology on couples is certainly a provocative one, which should have most viewers wincing in recognition at various points. (The DVD supplements include a fascinating snippet of interviews from the filmmaker's book on the same subject, due out in 2012.) Characterization stumbles aside, Shapiro's insights make for a frustrating, rewarding film that works best when it's between plot points and just observing how people interact. --Andrew Wright

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love in the Time of Cameras June 14, 2011
I saw "Monogamy" at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, where it won the award for Best New York Narrative. The story is suspenseful and very sexy, especially the voyeuristic exchanges between Theo and the mysterious girl he photographs; they let you see why he becomes so obsessed with her. Rashida Jones and Chris Messina both gave powerful performances, and their relationship was authentic and complex. The soundtrack is great, especially Jones' quiet acoustic songs which add to the film's intimate atmosphere.

The director brings New York City to life in his film and paints a genuine portrait of a relationship in crisis, one that's alternately funny and tense.
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By Techie
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
Just a so-so movie with movie-of-the-week acting. The featured actors are appealing but the script is wooden. Overall a 'chick flick' would be a good description.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Marriage Jitters and Obsession June 22, 2012
I bought this DVD at a local shop for no real good reason, except I like indie films. Although I didn't believe it was a total failure, it wasn't a great movie, either.

Theo is a photographer (not pro, but does it as a hobby) living in Brooklyn with his fiancee, Nat (unsure of her occupation, but she plays the guitar). They are soon-to-be-married. While Theo is doing wedding snapshots, he is asked by an anonymous woman, via e-mail, to voyeuristically photograph her. Theo becomes obsessed with this woman, and, in the meanwhile, he begins to distance himself from his soon-to-be-wife. As his relationship falls apart, he begins to find out who this anonymous woman is. No more story from me...

I was not expecting a huge blockbuster, well-made film classic when I bought this DVD. It is not that badly acted, and the cinematography was okay (a bit dark, but that is for effect). My problems came from certain plots and scenes: 1) The "anonymous woman" is nearly Hitchcockian in element, by not execution. Who she is is predictable; 2) The entire hospital scene. My wife is a physician, so she was laughing at the lack of intelligence in the scenes. For instance, Nat supposedly has a really bad infection (NO, not an STD!) and those who visit her are supposed to wear latex gloves. The gloves magically disappear in the scenes AND both she and Theo touch skin in other places like arms, faces, etc. Sloppy!; and 3) There is something phoney about the entire relationship between Nat and Theo that I cannot really understand. The relationship and oncoming marriage seems to be doomed from the first few scenes with them together. She seems to be understanding, but unwilling to compromise or communicate.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What's not to like? Well, the answer is...a lot. July 9, 2011
Judge Bill Gibron, DVD Verdict--A movie like Monogamy is irritating for a lot of reasons. First, it follows the typical new age mantra that men are pampered pigs, prepared to piss away years of hard interpersonal work for a glimpse of panty and the promise of something scandalous. Theo may drone on and on about his love for Nat, but give him a mystery masturbator and all future nuptial bets are off. Even worse, he wants to drag his poor guitar-strumming gal along for a midlife crisis that's arriving 15 years too early. At this point, the movie starts to meander, inferring something more sinister with Theo's film stock femme fatale. Then it bogs down in more "do you love me" monologues. All the while, Shapiro shakes the lens like he's suffering from some kind of seizure, hoping the handheld dynamic will bring some fresh immediacy to the mix. It doesn't. While Messina and Jones are more than capable, this is an idea--and an approach--that constantly suffers by comparison. Monogamy wants to be Blue Valentine or Two Lovers. Truth is, it can barely stand on its own.

As for the DVD specs, Oscilloscope does a decent job here. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen image is excellent--that is, when Shapiro settles down and lets us see what's going on. The colors are rich and vibrant, the exteriors balanced well with the much darker and more compact interiors. There is also a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix which allows for some decent atmospherics among the back channels. Since this is an incredibly talky film, the front speakers keep the conversations clear and easy to understand. By the way, there are songs here, and many of them will try your indie shoe-gazer patience, no matter the sonic presentation (there is also a 2.0 track available).
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