Adore Review (Paolo Kagaoan)


Starring Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, James Frecheville, Xavier Samuel and Ben Mendelsohn

Written by Christopher Hampton

Directed by Anne Fontaine

Adore plays out like the Doris Lessing vignette from which it is based called The Grandmothers. It substitutes a presumed South African setting for the Australian beach side. It has this a silent quality that makes the characters within it yearn for change without, of course, disturbing the natural setting near which it occurs. The wind blows against the swaying trees as a – group of – isolated white housewives who break rules.

In this case it is two women, Roz (Wright) and Lil (Watts), who have been friends since childhood, drinking little shotties of hard booze while floating on a raft near the coast. They grow up together, marry different people and have sons, Ian and Tom (Samuel and Frecheville) who are also growing up together. The bonds between these characters, who choose to be together, get stronger despite of all the strong, contradictory emotions they have towards each other. Not even husbands (Mendelsohn), suitors and wives can tear these four apart from each other.

I do like a movie that explores Freudian themes. I would, normally. These four characters transfer and sublimate their desire, every character means and symbolize many things for each other. The sons, as ‘young gods,’ just makes their mothers yearn for their past and to be desired as they would have been in their prime. The mothers reach out to each others’ sons for validation, the sons look for their mothers for comfort. There’s a scene where Lil looks into a mirror and stares at her reflection, looking at the person who feels old and withered.

Both reasons stated above have strains of co-dependent patterns of behaviour. Adulthood and seems to come difficultly for these four characters.

That also means their relationships the forge seem to be based in lies, wanting and being with other people because they don’t want to act on another frivolous tabooed desire. They’re also unable to control their desires, which makes character arcs seem circuitous. Some of us in the audience can argue that these relationships are plausible, but it’s equally frustrating to watch people act repetitiously in life as it would to watch them in a movie.

The repetitious plot points also make the film seem longer than its 110 minute run.. Lessing’s short is around 50 pages long. Christopher Hampton, who adapted this short, has finally written a screenplay set in modern times with characters who somewhat talk like real human beings. However, he could have cut the movie’s running time by 20 minutes and still have given us a more coherent, emotionally effective movie.


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Published by paolocase

I'm a little spongette of pop culture, mostly spending time and money in the movie theatre and TCM-like channels.

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