Friday, April 16, 2010

"Conversations with Other Women" (2005) - Movie Review

Aspiring and being is two different thing and “Conversations with Other Women” lives rather comfortably in the former. It is about two people, a man and a woman in their post mid life crisis stage but living in the past. We do not know they have a past till the split screens annoy the hell out of us. Then it assumes to be comfortable with itself and wrongs me in collating multiple screens. They are so distant and so apart. It is rather unbelievable to think these two had a past and they were madly in love.

Thin and sharp Aaron Eckhart is the man while the soft woman with a devilish spray is Helena Bonham-Carter as the woman. They are in a wedding and he notices her, she notices him with her peripherals. She is searching for a place to smoke, he smiles at her restlessness and wants to say Hi to the cuteness. He gets two drinks and swings by to offer. She says she does not drink but he says she smokes. They drop an empty laugh. This reads well and plays mediocre. Thus becomes a film full of mediocre moments.

Hans Canosa, the director has worked hard to provide multiple angles of the same conversation in hidings. This technique is spot on when the couple takes the elevator and a nosy Bridesmaid (Olivia Wilde) is in the middle. There it blossoms. The awkwardness splits and partitions. Canosa’s film has a never say die attitude though. Every time I was in the verge of this split screen ending soon, it goes into further ADD of flashbacks and possible behaviours of other characters these two mention to be with.

Whether two people once had this magical relationship for short time run off due to insecurity and age come back in their late thirties to talk as strangers? Yes, definitely. It was done so beautifully in “Before Sunset” the sequel at its best for its predecessor “Before Sunrise”. There happened two people, strangers to be precise and fall in love hopelessly. They take the audience along with their hearts. Then they split and meet back in the sequel. This film is an experimentation in merging those two beautiful films and showing it badly in two screens.

May be if the story was said without these search for focus, it would have given an opportunity to learn about these two. Both of them are with someone else and this ache carried on by each other for all these time is clear. They want to sleep and then what? The film moves on with no surprises and as the characters are destined to be unfinished and vacant inside.

The film fails because there was no spark or chemistry or connection or whatever the today’s online dating scene suggests to have. The ambiguity of them as strangers and simultaneously in the complex way Canosa puts across to indicate their connection in the past seems more than subtle and less than interesting. But these are two talented actors working quite ambitiously to give their best. The sound of the idea would have deceived them.

“Conversations with Other Women” is not an experimentation in the story or the characters. In films like these where the sweet knife fights want the audience to love the couple depends on the dialogues and the film has some fortune cookie statements. It is not cocky but uninteresting in itself. While writing about the disappointment of the material, I was able to come to the right reason for its debacle. And it is its own killer. The couple are introduced as strangers and then there is hint of their past. The characters know what they are playing and that is the passion which reignites them. The joke is fun to play when the involved party are participants. Out here, audience are in the dark and we do not understand their inside joke and we do not appreciate the director’s rudeness in having a personal moment. “Conversation with Other Women” ignores its audience and does not become self absorbing enough to kindle the devious poetry in it.

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