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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.27%
Worth A Look: 25.45%
Just Average29.09%
Pretty Crappy: 23.64%
Sucks: 14.55%

7 reviews, 13 user ratings

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We Don't Live Here Anymore
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by John Rice

"A typical romance movie, 10 or 15 years later."
3 stars

...and they lived happily ever after... Most romances don't end with those actual words, but it is almost always implied. The young couple meets, falls in love, falls apart, goes through whatever challenges until they finally come back together and get married, ride off into the sunset, or whatever couples do in movies before the picture fades out. Then, they live happily ever after. Well, the real world doesn't usually work that way. In your normal romance, the true work is only beginning when the credits roll. No matter what challenges the couple has been through, that was the easy part. The rest of their lives, that's the tough part.

imagine Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have once again fallen into each other's arms and the music has swelled, but now it is 10 or 15 years later. All those little idiosyncrasies they used to find cute are now driving them crazy. There are kids who have to be looked after, bills which have to be paid and when it comes right down to it, they have simply stopped working on being a couple. Tempers are flaring. They look for any reason to scream at each other. Sometimes, hating each other is the only thing that gets them up in the morning. Welcome to We Don't Live Here Anymore.

Jack & Terry (Mark Ruffalo & Laura Dern) are married, with two children and a house. Jack is a professor at the local University in their town in Maine. He does not seem particularly interested in his job, or much anything else, and has taken the summer off from teaching, even though money is rather tight. Terry seems to love Jack, but she has difficulty finding the energy or motivation to do much of anything. Deep down, she seems like an affectionate person, but she is incredibly angry and lets Jack know it regularly. Her tirades fall on deaf ears since Jack has mostly withdrawn from Terry, as well as from pretty much everything else in his life.

Hank & Edith (Peter Krause & Naomi Watts) are married friends of Jack & Terry who have simply withdrawn from each other. They never argue because they don't talk to each other. Hank is also a professor and, needing to be published, spends almost all his time writing a novel. Edith talks of how much she hates Hank and expends a great deal of energy covertly making him pay for it. She suspects Hank wouldn't even care if he knew what she was doing, and seems almost anxious to let him know so she can find out for sure.

We Don't Live Here Anymore is a methodical film which simply allows the audience to watch as the two couples move closer and closer toward some sort of catharsis. What is unusual is how all of them eventually face and admit to what they have done, at least as well as they can. It may take some of them a few tries to come to the decision they ultimately reach and not all of them get there willingly, but the point of the film is the process they each go through. This is pure character study, and a pretty decent one at that.

This review originally appeared on Slacker-Reviews.com.

The subject matter is difficult because it is so real. People do these things every day. It's just a bit more concentrated in We Don't Live Here Anymore for the sake of a focused story. This is the type of film where it may be difficult to accept how everyone deals with the behavior of others, but that is because they behave more like real people than typical movie characters. In real life, some couples find the reasons they came together in the first place, no matter what they have been through, while others are incapable of doing the same. Some messes are cleaned up enough for life to go on and others aren't, which may be upsetting for viewers looking for a conventional ending. The ambiguity of We Don't Live Here Anymore reminds me of the fabulous, and rather painful 2001 film In the Bedroom. While this is definitely the lesser film, it is still worth the effort for anyone interested in the darker, more realistic side of long term relationships.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8536&reviewer=373
originally posted: 07/08/05 07:33:58
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/27/07 richard ...haha..garden state and napoleon dynamite..."far wittier, original pieces" please stop. 5 stars
11/09/05 Phil M. Aficionado The cast made this "more real feeling" than the story deserved to be; Just an OK film. 3 stars
7/18/05 steandric great film with great acting, especially from oscar-nominee naomi watts. 5 stars
7/09/05 Charlene Javier Brooding. 3 stars
6/12/05 lindy03 by the end of the film, does anyone give a damn? 1 stars
5/28/05 Strutho remove sharp items from your person before entering the cinema, you want to cut your wrists 1 stars
5/04/05 Indrid Cold Intelligent, detailed portrait of adultery; not a surprise that it's quite unentertaining. 3 stars
1/01/05 MyGreenBed Good acting, realistic situations (for desperate 35 yr old married folk), nice visually. 4 stars
8/31/04 cruella bring your jammies, it's a snore 3 stars
8/24/04 Kacey Kowars Wonderful script, wonderful ensemble acting 5 stars
8/06/04 taxi Horrible people we don't care about in bad marriages 2 stars
7/01/04 jeffrey Worth the time just to see Naomi Watts have sex 4 stars
3/31/04 Eric Mathenson Saw this film at sundance- it was excellent, great acting, great direction. 5 stars
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  13-Aug-2004 (R)
  DVD: 14-Dec-2004



Directed by
  John Curran

Written by
  Larry Gross

  Mark Ruffalo
  Laura Dern
  Peter Krause
  Naomi Watts

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