Thursday, April 30, 2015

5 to 7

My son, one day you'll meet the woman of your dreams. She'll be beautiful, your heart's desire, your every waking moment will be filled with thoughts of her, and how happy the two of you could be.

Of course, by that time, you'll be married.

Anyway, as I've previously outlined that there is a scale of wimpy young male actors (Cera, Eisenberg, Yelchin, Le Beouf, Gordon-Levitt) which seem to be considered for roles about, well, wimps. Gordon-Levitt has been playing, convincingly, more tough guy roles of late, so it barely makes sense to include him any more.  But another guy who has been breaking out of the mold is Anton Yelchin, who plays Chekov in the Star Trek reboots, and played an action hero and romantic lead in the mysteriously buried Odd Thomas.

In 5 to 7, though, Yelchin is a full-blown romantic lead in what is the most romantic movie in recent memory, written and directed by longtime producer ("Mad About You") Victor Levin. And he must play this role across from long-necked Bond Girl Bérénice Marlohe (Skyfall).

The premise is this: While walking down the street, Brian spies Arielle smoking on the sidewalk (Yelchin and Marlohe, respectively) and decides he has to meet her. She's receptive, teasing, flirty and when she finishes smoking tells him he can find her smoking there every week at that time.

They strike up a relationship in which Marlohe (being French) casually mentions being married, and how this shouldn't be an impediment to her relationship with Yelchin. In fact, the French have a phrase for just this, "cinq à sept" (pronounced "sahnk-ah-set"), "5 to 7": In other words, those hours after work but before you're expected at home, when it is most opportune to visit one's mistress.

Of course the French have a phrase for it.

Brian balks at the notion of having a relationship with a married woman. But come on. Bérénice Marlohe?
The Least Flattering Picture of Bérénice Marlohe On The Internet
Anyway, morals are great, but with 'em, we ain't got a picture. And Brian is soon sharing a hotel room and precious bodily essences with Arielle. This is mostly done quite tastefully, thank God and Victor Levin.

Also, if everybody stuck to their morals, well, there wouldn't be the opportunity to show why said morals exist, and the harm they're meant to prevent.

The critic/audience split is rather severe here with audiences preferring the movie by a wide margin (66%/86%), and I suspect this is in part due to the earnest and straightforward nature of the story, which seems familiar. But there's also an underlying belief in doing the right thing, even when it's the hardest thing in the world to do, and a sincere and unapologetic belief in love that maybe seems unsophisticated to a worldly wise filmgoer.

The Boy was wowed by it, which sort of surprised me. I mean, I rather liked it, but he was enthusiastic. Likable characters in difficult situations is his thing.

Glenn Close and Frank Langella steal a few scenes as Brian's mother and father. (Of course, Brian's supposed to be 23 which would make him a very late in life baby to those two, indeed. But who cares? It's Frank Langella and Glenn Close!)

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