Married Life (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes

Married Life (2008)



Critic Consensus: Married Life has excellent performances and flashes of dark wit, but it suffers from tonal shifts and uneven pacing.

Movie Info

A very gentle middle-aged man is married, but when he falls in love with another woman, he decides that to divorce his wife will be to humiliate her too much. So instead he decides to kill her.more
Rating: PG-13 (for some thematic elements and a scene of sexuality)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Mystery & Suspense, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Ira Sachs, John Bingham, Oren Moverman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 2, 2008
Box Office: $1.2M
Sony Classics - Official Site


Pierce Brosnan
as Richard Langley
Chris Cooper
as Harry Allen
Rachel McAdams
as Kay Nesbitt
David Wenham
as John O'Brien
Terence Kelly
as Dr. Anderson
Sheila Paterson
as Mrs. Walsh
Elijah St. Germain
as Little Charlie
Rebecca Codling
as Photo Store Clerk
Timothy Webber
as Alvin Walters
Dolores Drake
as Ticket Taker
Malcom Boddington
as Well-Tailored Man
Sean Tyson
as Policeman
Ty Olsson
as Policeman
Anna Williams
as O'Brien's Girlfriend
Kathleen Duborg
as Charades Player
Suzanne Ristic
as Charades Player
Mike Cook
as Charades Player
Dale Floyd
as Charades Player
Alex Stevens
as Charades Player
Fred Keating
as Charades Player
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Married Life

Critic Reviews for Married Life

All Critics (120) | Top Critics (37)

It looks beautiful, and the convoluted plotting is initially the right side of Hitchcock pastiche, but the central conundrum is teased out over so many twists and false climaxes that ultimately it's a shrug, not a shock, which greets the denouement.

Full Review… | July 31, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

The roundelay structure and Hitchcockian nods could have easily given way to a sardonic puppet theater, but Sachs and screenwriter Oren Moverman care too much about their characters to turn them into pawns

Full Review… | August 27, 2009

One of the more ethically dubious films to come out of Hollywood in years.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Austin Chronicle

This darkly comic dramatic thriller, which is set just after World War II, is more than merely watchable. It's very smart and is old-fashioned in several respects.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

It is as though filmmaker Ira Sachs fears that just making a film about infidelity is too straight, too pedestrian, so, he's got to introduce the possibility that murder is on the horizon.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Entertainment Insiders

Even movies that dare to paint dark portraits of the sacred institution can't resist glorifying it in the end.

Full Review… | September 10, 2008

Audience Reviews for Married Life

Good, but expected it to be better. End just felt a bit flat to me. However, very nice to look at, and cast all good - kind of like of like one of the old film noir movies. Just would have liked a little more to it.

Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


The characters are rich and the acting excellent, but nothing in this subdued little thriller really seems to stick. As a chamber drama or a little sociological portrait of infidelity of the upper-middle class, Married Life does the trick, but aren't there a million other movies like this? There's nothing fundamentally that sets this apart from the scores of other movies about barely-restrained marital dissatisfaction. I mean, why give this a second when Far From Heaven is sitting there, an infinitely richer and more original exploration of similar themes? I don't mean to discredit the successes of Married Life; as I sat through it, it disarmed me with its surprising compassion toward its characters and the mature interpretations from the performers channeling them. Perhaps the quality that DOES make this movie stand out is an attempt to place a desperately unlikable protagonist in front of us and ask us to forgive and understand him. The one problem here is that Chris Cooper is simply irredeemable, as hard as the movie tries. The attempts at drawing sympathy for his situation are admirable and ambitious, but they simply fall short - it is extremely difficult to vindicate such repulsive actions without seeming overly manipulative, and though Married Life nobly attempts a quieter justification, it isn't enough.

The only other surprise Married Life has up its sleeve is a fantastic performance by Rachel McAdams. We fully expect Chris Cooper to be great, so no surprise there. Pierce Brosnan offers nothing exceptional but operates well within type; Clarkson, as much as I love her, offers a studied but uncomplicated riff on her "housewife experienced in the art of suffering" routine. McAdams, though, is a fascinating actress; her highly limited filmography speaks well of an enigmatic allure, which she funnels elegantly into Kay Nesbitt. Kay is a deceptively deep woman, observant and compassionate but with a clear sense of what she wants for herself. She hesitates, but not because she is expected to, but out of legitimate concern for others. We learn something new about her in every scene we spend with her; McAdams does a commendable job unfurling different layers of this character as the film progresses, never giving us too little or too much. So great.

I really wish there was more to this movie, because I feel like it's perched on the brink of greatness but just needed a bit more thought. Another rewrite. Something to energize it more. Maybe a sharper visual eye - there's nothing interesting to look at here other than the opening titles. In its current form, it's doomed to be forgotten, if only to be rediscovered as an actorly curio and subsequently reminding its finders why it was forgotten in the first place.

Drew Smith

Super Reviewer

it's odd the lengths someone will go to, to not hurt someone they love/loved. i really liked it. i couldn't stop watching it, very suspenseful. you can't help but feel like at any moment someone is going to be murdered. it's dark, but very true to life.. everyone's been in a relationship like these depicted in this movie.

Alexis Nomm

Super Reviewer

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