Conversations with Other WomenReviewed By Katharine Leis
Posted 03/16/06 23:34:23
If thereís ever been a film that has captured the strains and regrets between a man and woman, itís this one. The acting by Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhart is flawless, and is also probably the finest acting by two people consistently throughout a film that Iíve ever seen.Much of the dialogue and emotion may be lost on the teen/college crowd, but for those over thirty, the angst conveyed may just be all too familiar.
The story begins at a wedding where a man (Eckhart) and woman (Bonham Carter) meet up and start to talk. They obviously know each other, and a strange and tense flirtation occurs between them. The film largely takes place between just the two in a handful of locations, but the audience attention is kept sharp with the dialogue, emotion, and a unique use of the split screen.
Director Hans Canova used a split screen throughout the film. Upon first hearing about this technique, I thought it might just be a gimmick, but it actually made a tremendous effect on the way the film played, and on the viewerís experience. Essentially, depending on what or who the viewer is watching for the better part of the film, their experience with it could be largely different than the experience of someone else who watches the exact same film. For the most part, the viewer can watch either the man or the woman. The split screen sometimes diverts to flashbacks, sometimes to other things and people living currently, and sometimes to other angles. In no uncertain terms is the viewer left to ponder what the attention is supposed to be drawn to, and at times what is being said is entirely different than what plays out on the other side of the split screen.
Iím not one to watch a film more than once, but this one, I am looking forward to seeing again. The sheer thought that must have gone into every cut, emotion, expression, and nuance in this film show that Zevin and Canova truly respect the art of filmmaking. They use the medium originally and to itís fullest. To call them brilliant would be an understatement.
Olivia Wilde plays a bridesmaid in a brief role and true to her usual form, she dominates the scene with her beauty and talent.
Key and memorable scenes play far too well for me to give them away. Thereís a certain amount of mystery and intrigue within the script that deserve to be played out for every viewer, not praised by a critic and essentially lost in the process.If you have ever been in love, and if you are over thirty, see this film. In fact, see it twice.
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