Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Adore (or Whatever it’s Titled Today)
language Nobel laureates for literature have complicated relationship with
cinema. Arguably, Steinbeck has fared
the best, providing the source material for masterworks from John Ford and Elia
Kazan. Ernest Hemingway films have been
a radically mixed bag, including some gems and some clunkers. Faulkner films have generally been an iffy
proposition. However, director Anne
Fontaine and screenwriter Christopher Hampton will drastically lower the curve
with their smarmy adaptation of Doris Lessing’s The Grandmothers, now known as Adore
here) for its New York opening this Friday.
original title, The Grandmothers,
obviously does not sound very sexy.
Hence, Fontaine’s film was known as Two
Mothers at Sundance, where my colleagues in the press corps took the bullet
to inform the world this was no art movie.
Six months or so later, it was re-titled Adore, right up there at the top of the alphabet, presumably to be
VOD friendly. No matter what it’s
called, this film is sure to disappoint.
husband never was much, so when he dies, she is able to carry-on raising her
son Ian well enough on her own, with the help of her BFF Roz. Roz also has a son, Tom, and a perfectly
serviceable husband, Harold, who just does not seem to be the sort of doofus
she wants anymore. For most of the
summer, the lads surf, while their mother booze it up on the shore, drinking up
their lean frames. Eventually, Ian puts
the moves on Roz and Tom follows suit with Lil.
gee, how scandalous. At least, that is
how the filmmakers would like us to react.
Frankly, it is not worth getting worked up over. Never before has cougar-boy toy sex been so
boring. In lieu of substance, we get an interminable
surfeit of morning after shots, following the characters walking on the beach,
staring off into the horizon. Yet, by
far the gravest sin of Adore (Fontaine’s
dubious English language debut) is Hampton’s ridiculous dialogue. There is no way real people would ever talk
like this. However, it probably looked
great on the page, eliciting all sorts of “edgy” compliments from Hampton’s
there is a cynical laziness to Adore that
assumes it merely needs to deliver the promised quota of taboo sex for critics
and viewers to be intimidated by “provocative” nature. The truth is there is no there there. The characters are paper thin and not once do
their reactions ring true. Anyone who
can tell Xavier Samuel’s Ian apart from James Frecheville’s Tom should win a
cigar from exhibiting theaters. Naomi
Watts and Robin Wright have a few nice moments together, but evidently Fontaine
and Hampton believe the world already had enough films about friendships
between middle aged women.
addresses sexual relations, but never with any kind of intelligence or maturity. In truth, it lacks the depth and insight of
an average Pia Zadora movie. Slow, smug,
and shallow, Adore is an absolute
waste of the talents of Fontaine (whose The Girl from Monaco is far sexier and more emotionally complicated), Watts, Wright,
and the normally reliable Ben Mendelsohn.
Not recommended, especially for those who think it might hold guilty
pleasures, Adore opens this Friday
(9/6) in New York at the Angelika Film Center.
Labels: Anne Fontaine