Married Life Reviews
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.
Perhaps it was the voiceover that placed the viewer at a distance - but certainly, while the period work was beautiful to behold, it lacked any kind of emotional value whatsoever.
Maybe it was because Cooper's portrayal was so introverted and starched that even when he made the mad dash back to his wife it seemed contrived and surreal.
I found Pierce Brosnan's portrayal to be very cardboard and emotionless as well - here's a confirmed bachelor who is smitten by his lifelong friend's mistress, and yet everything seems to be so matter of fact, sans any kind of passion that would bring the entire enterprise into relevency.
The premiss could have worked wonderfully, but the direction here missed by a mile. It was as if the director was so caught up in paying homage to the period genre he was trying to emulate that he forgot that he was making a film.
This is one of those ensemble cast pieces that you see from time to time that is banking more on its cast than its script or direction. Cooper, McAdams, and Clarkson are great in their roles giving us performances that anyone would be proud of if they had been in another movie. After Brosnan had abandoned James Bond with The Matador I was hoping he would continue to shun that suave, womanizing exterior and try something different than what he's been doing since Remington Steele. I was disappointed. Brosnan plays Richard as a Jame Bond that Roger Moore would even say was too old to be seducing the young Kay. You could say the same thing about Cooper's Harry, but in that instance it was more mutual. Richard is merely a wolf that Brosnan plays by pulling a paint by numbers acting style that stifles the other actors. He tends to overact in some scenes and be barely visible in others.
The script is a horrible piece that flows like a plugged toilet. Basic plot twists and basic reactions are the name of the game in this film with no one acting the way an actual human being would act in the same circumstances. I expect to have reality bullshitted to me in something like Alice in Wonderland, but when you're showing a quaint little town in the lake 1940's we have to have some real reactions not something to further the story along. The direction is mediocre at best and horrible at worst. Sergio Leone could get away with a close up to give the audience tension.Ira Sachs, who also wrote the screenplay, gives us wonderful views of the casts nostrils. Yes, if lighted correctly I could have seen Christ Coppers sinuses. Wonderful.
I wonder why this thing was even called Married Life. The title doesn't fit to well. I would have called this film Crap. Pure crap. The only thing that's saving it from the dreaded half star is Cooper, McAdams, and Clarkson, whose acting save what this picture would have been. But saving this film would have been the equivalent of trying to bale out the Titanic with a measuring cup.
[font=Century Gothic]"Married Life" is a smart, suspenseful and witty movie with an ambivalent ending. However, I am not entirely sure that it plays fair with the audience. The cast is perfect, especially Patricia Clarkson and Chris Cooper who have wonderful chemistry together. And it is a nice touch that a middle-aged woman can be sexual without it being turned into a joke. [/font]
[font=Century Gothic]The movie seems to be advocating that it is always best to act in one's self-interest.(I'm wondering if the characters saw "The Fountainhead" on one of their numerous trips to the cinema.) When Harry has an affair with another woman and thinks of himself, he is not a bad person. Only when he worries about his wife's suffering does he become a monster.(Pain is a necessary ingredient of life and no matter how careful we are, we cannot help but to hurt those we love on occasion.) Conversely, Richard who starts the movie as a cad gets more sympathetic as time goes on. [/font]
The film did have the great look of 40's films with terrific period costuming, great lighting and the sets and props were amazingly accurate but I guess I was expecting a more dramatic thrilling ending.
Ira Sachs' "Married Life" is just as the title suggest it is about married life and the trials and tribulations that a married couple go through everyday the ups and downs Ira Sachs' blunt dramedy doesn't let you off the hook easy when it comes to theses themes but you won't shy away if that's what you think. It is very easy on the eyes, but as I said before most of the elder generation may find this film hard to watch as someone in their life has been cheated on or they themselves been cheated. it's a touchy subject believe me, but here that is not the case it's more about how love can easily fall apart as easily as it can be built, how the choices we make can affect the ones we love and how sometimes when we least expect it you fall in love with the last person you would expect. Ira Sachs shows us suburban life in the 40's that we seldom see today his film is a homage to the dark screwball comedies of the golden era and also a tribute to film noir with its stark lighting, it's wickedly sharp narrative and dialogue and gloomy undertones that give it that old time feel. What makes a film special is heart if a film has no heart it has no soul if a film has no soul it has no character and if a film has no character than what is it? I'll tell you nothing more than people walking around talking lines that should mean something and should leave a lasting effect, while "Married Life" doesn't leave a lasting impression on audiences it gives them a zany and quirky look into the love lives of four very normal yet strange individuals.
I liked the atmosphere, I liked the style of the film how it worked but what I liked most of all was the narration by Pierce Brosnan it wasn't just about him but also about Harry(Chris Cooper) and his wife Pat(Patricia Clarkson). The narration doe not leave you out in the cold or leave you without answers to your questions and that to me is a major accomplishment of this film and one of the key highlights of the story and plot. What I did not like, and to me what almost undid all of this films accomplishment was the uneven pace if a little more even it would have been a great movie instead of good.
I am a massive, massive fan of Chris Cooper to me he is one of cinemas most versatile and underrated actors of the 21st century he is amazing in everything he does. He is one of the few actors I am proud to say can never gives a bad performance and here he displays one of his good not great performances as a husband trying to spare his wife the embarrassment of divorce. Cooper is all emotions on this one he does not rely on pure ferocity and cunning as he does in most of his performances here it is all emotions and brains that drive Cooper's determined character Harry Allen. Cooper is a perfect fit for this odd and quirky type of role that may not seem like a perfect fit but truth be told he is he slips perfectly into the role that you do not even think of him as Chris Cooper the actor but as Harry Allen the distressed husband. Cooper is one of the main reasons to see this film. Pierce Brosnan was and still is a childhood favorite of mine he was the hero from some of m favorite James Bond movies and from one of my favorite T.V. shows "Remington Steele", here as Richard Langley the best friend to Chris Cooper's character Harry Allen he is a near-perfect fit. Brosnan is all charm and sophistication as usual as player Richard Langley who ends up finding love in an unusual way, what I liked most about Brosnan's performance is the way he plays Langley with such style and grace. He gives his character a tenacious never give up attitude when it comes to women and that too me adds a little more charm and also a little darker side to the character as the women he pursues could end up destroying his life and yet he still pursues her. Brosnan is no one trick pony in this film and he seems to have everything figured out, or so you think. Rachel McAdams is fantastic as the women every man wants her beautiful face and platinum blond hair give her the look of Jean Harlow one of Hollywood's prominent hopefuls taken before her time. McAdams may not have allotted screen time and may only serve as a side character in the story of Harry Allen she is the main reason the story works. If it was some other actress it wouldn't have been as convincing you need someone of McAdams skill to play a character like Kay, "dear sweet Kay" as Pierce Brosnan's narration describes her and that is how I describe McAdams dear and oh so sweet. I am not a big fan of Patricia Clarkson in fact I don't really like her at all she(to me at least) doesn't seem like great actress material or good actress material for that matter. Here she gives a performance that I will go out on a limb and say is exceptional Clarkson gives it all she has to play a sex loving wife who seems to care more about her husband then herself(which in my book is suspicious). Clarkson is great, does a fine job of holding her own against Brosnan, Cooper and McAdams, and comes out as one of the lesser acts in this film but still worthy of being called good.
Ira Sachs' "Married Life? may not impress all but it does impress with it's wit and charm and intelligent, well written dialogue that flows like water down a riverbed it just works. What also works about this film are the actors, the actors play off each other and the film's story beautifully making "Married Life" one of the more charming films you can seen in your spare time grant it this film was severely overlooked and immensely underrated when it was released back in 2008. While summer blockbusters like "Iron Man,? "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the crystal Skull" and "The Dark Knight? were dominating the box-office this film quietly made its run in limited release where few heard of it and seldom saw. I liked this film more than I thought I would and from what I saw I thought it would be better than what it was but for what it was it was fantastic and I am proud to say I very much enjoyed it.