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They gave in to their deepest desires, but can they overcome their biggest fears? Mark Ruffalo (Windtalkers), Kathleen Robertson ("Girls Club") and Maya Stange (Garage Days) deliver stunning performances in this steamy, highly charged film that explores the passions of youth and theirinevitable price. When New York animator Coles (Ruffalo) meets Sam (Stange), the attraction is immediate. And when Sam invites her hot friend Thea (Robertson) to bed with them, it's a dreamcome true until ugly secrets destroy the carefree threesome. Ten years later, their very different lives converge again and Coles realizes how much he still loves Sam. But can he risk everything to tell her the naked truth?
A sharply acted film that manages to be both sexy and thoughtful, XX/XY asks uncomfortable questions about the tricky business of passion. The opening half-hour details an immature college relationship between Mark Ruffalo and Maya Stange; cut to 10 years later, when the two meet again as "grown-ups" and have no idea what to do with their old feelings. Director Austin Chick bravely allows his characters to be messed-up and uncertain, and the actors respond with complex performances: Ruffalo confirms the promise of his You Can Count on Me breakthrough, Stange is a heartbreaking Australian discovery, and Petra Wright shines as Ruffalo's new girlfriend, who has more to her than we first suspect. This film was somewhat lost in the shuffle of 2002's indie releases, but it deserves a look for its clear-eyed embrace of all the gray areas that often get left out of movies. --Robert Horton
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Top customer reviews
I researched it on-line, and decided to order it from Amazon. I was pleasantly impressed with a movie which has a good script, good acting, directing & editing - the 4 main qualitites I look for in a movie. Mark Ruffalo has become an actor I really like (see him also in "Reservation Road" & "We Don't Live Here Anymore").
I'm glad I own this movie and will watch & recommend it again.
Although "XX/XY" is told as a linear story, during post-production they realized that it was too choppy and confusing for straight viewing and elected to label the scene transitions with a lot of on-screen titles. Although viewers will thank them for this last-minute fix, it is like making an explicit admission of writer/director Austin Chick's limitations and/or pre-production laziness. The final cut gives the impression that it wasn't until the actual assembly of this film that Chick gave any thought to the sequence for many of the scenes.
The bleak colors, inadequate lighting, and bland production design are depressingly consistent with the tone of the story. Don't expect to find anything uplifting except the Taco ads and the advertising agency parody.
Those expecting a script on the intelligence level of "Closer" (a similar premise) will be disappointed despite decent performances from the entire cast. I initially watched from the perspective of a Kathleen Robertson fan and was disappointed with her quite ancillary position in the story relative to Mark Ruffalo and Maya Strange. Although promoted as the story of a "carefree threesome", Robertson's Thea is just a third wheel in the Coles (Ruffalo)-Sam (Stange) relationship. Chick briefly gives Robertson something to do as she breaks Sid (Kel O'Neill), a shy puppy dog boy who she teasingly sleeps with once. But he goes nowhere with this, apparently it is just there to insure viewers dislike all members of the threesome, not just the principal two.
If you can manage to tough it out for a while, things get much better in the second half. The "Gatsby" ending is actually very good. Mostly this is because each member of the threesome has paired up in monogamist relationships with very likable people. By this point Coles has become the principal character as Chick begins to explore the mysteries of male discontent. The Coles' characterization is hard to buy into, there is just too much inconsistency as Chick tries to make him both a wimp and a "stick it to the man" rebel (I assume that this inconsistency is supposed to be the whole point for the movie). Although Ruffalo can adequately play either character he cannot perform the impossible and weave these disparate traits into a believable person.
The second half shows Coles involved in a long-term relationship with Claire (Petra Wright). Once her character is introduced, Wright proceeds to steal the remainder of the film, not just because she is the film's first well-adjusted character (and arguably most talented performer), but because her part is written so much better than the others. Claire's scene on the pier is the film's best moment and the one thing here that you will want to go back and view multiple times.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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