Marie and Bruce
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Four-time Oscar nominee Julianne Moore (Children of Men) and two-time Tony Award winner Matthew Broderick (The Producers) star in this serio-comic trip through a day in the lives of a dysfunctional married couple. Adapted by Wallace Shawn (My Dinner With Andre) from his own play, Marie and Bruce begins with the couple's venomous breakfast conversation and ends with an intimate dinner where Marie finally reveals her secret desires to her husband. Brilliantly sarcastic, often funny, yet deeply moving, Marie and Bruce is an acting tour de force that finely captures Shawn's legendary "perverse wit" (Kurt Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter).
First comes love, then comes marriage--then comes the roller-coaster ride of a lifetime. The wickedly dark yet moving Marie and Bruce, written by arch-wit Wallace Shawn, is an unflinching look at a marriage, warts and all. (Or perhaps it is all warts.) Julianne Moore and Matthew Broderick, playing the title couple, are in peak--often surprising--form, giving nuanced performances to Shawn's often stagey-sounding dialogue (the film is based on his play). In the same vein as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Scenes from a Marriage, and War of the Roses, the film wades into harrowing emotional territory--and stays there, unwavering. Marie, unsatisfied in her marriage, throws words like "dear," "darling," and "sweetheart" at the slightly hapless Bruce as though they were poison-tipped darts. But Bruce has a secret life of his own, far from the reach of the acid-tongued Marie. It's the screenplay's strength that each scene and revelation involving this couple are a surprise. The situation is not all bleak. There's love between these two. And Marie has, under her barely contained rage, a tremendous vulnerability, portrayed perfectly by Moore as traces of anxiety flicker across her face at a cocktail party where she's suddenly uncomfortable--and sympathetic. The deeply affecting performances of Moore and Broderick will stay with the viewer long after Marie and Bruce have taken their journey into the dark side of love. --A.T. Hurley
Stills from Marie and Bruce (Click for larger image)
Top customer reviews
Julianne Moore is why I watch any movie, and in the end, was the only reason I suffered through to see the credits role. Imagine a mix of What Dreams May Come, meets Blindness, meets Broderick running from the Out on a Limb set (filmed locally here and I swear he is wearing the same clothes and glasses) meets a mid-life crisis. The film is narrated by our married couple both to the camera and in their heads, sometimes blurring what is real and what becomes a dream through the coarse of one day in the city.
The dialogue becomes so tedious and frustrating by anyone who opens their mouth that you wish it would have stayed on the stage, as I believe this was the original location of this pedantic story. I cannot find the words to describe the variety of self loathing narratives and forced conversations. To summarize briefly, nothing jumped out at me to hold an interest and I give it another star just on JM's ability to hold a film together with her expressions and genuine look of disgust in what she is doing.
No extras to speak of from Genius once again.
It's hard to believe the author of the marvelous "The Designated Mourner" could've fallen so far.
Unfortunately the film's premise is so dull that even the technique of having characters speak exactly what is in their minds mixed with dialogue seemingly more appropriate for human ears and adding dreamlike sequences including some rather randy voyeurism - stage worthy though these techniques may be - just can't make this dreary story of a day in the dissolution of a VERY bad marriage work. The only character in the film with whom the viewer can empathize is a friendly dog. Pass on this sad flop. Grady Harp, March 09