Conversations With Other Women Reviews
We know these ex-lovers are gonna fuck tonight, but the cat-and-mouse foreplay is still subtly suspenseful, with underhanded barbs and guarded tellings of their separate pasts. The script IS basic with no notable or quotable aphorisms, but I like that. The characters aren't trying to impress each other. HBC and Eckhart are so easy together that it's clear to see how the act of having sex doesn't really matter and how cheating on their SOs essentially isn't meant to be a hurtful or sinful thing, but a matter of course for the soul-connected.
I didn't love or hate the split-screen technique. At first I found it difficult to watch because I couldn't tell where the angles and POVs were, but I got over it and enjoyed the few moments where the screens showed the future and the characters' different reactions. The end when the screens match up confuses me though. Do they end up together? Should they?
This story is told completely using split screen, and though this gimmick works effectively at the end, most of it is truly annoying. Part of writing and filmmaking is about making choices - what to show, what to reveal through dialogue, images, or subtext - and this film abdicates many of the more important choices, electing instead to overload the viewer with too much information.
Also, I found the story rather cliche. We know fairly early what is going to happen here, and though the reveal at the beginning of the second act comes as a bit of a surprise, there isn't much beyond that.
There is an awful lot of dialogue - this is one of the most talky films I've seen recently - but there aren't many memorable lines or moments, and it seems like very little is actually communicated between these two characters.
What I liked were the few moments when the split screen worked to reveal each character as lonely and isolated and when the reaction was just as important as the words.
Overall, even if you find the gimmick interesting, I doubt the basic story will seem all that original.
Director: Hans Canosa
Summary: Sparks fly at a wedding reception when a man (Aaron Eckhart) and woman (Helena Bonham Carter) with an ambiguous connection are reunited in this stylish romantic drama. As the layers of their past relationship gradually peel back, they rekindle a smoldering flame.
My Thoughts: "Unique directing style that I liked. I loved the story and how it played out. It gradually gives you bits and pieces of their story, which is smartly done keeping you intrigued the entire film. I just adore Helena Bonham Carter. She's such a great actress. Aaron Eckhart and Helena did a fantastic job at keeping your full attention. It can become very boring when a story just has one or two actor's through an entire film. But they are great actor's and managed without much to keep my attention. Great movie."
As for the movie itself, it's an interesting take on the romantic genre. A man meets a woman at a wedding reception, and it's slowly revealed that they have a history together. A history that isn't quite finished, despite the years that have passed since they've seen each other. You learn about their past and their present concurrently, thanks to the previously mentioned split-screen wizardry.
Check it out if you're interested in an adult relationship story, with a bit of an experimental indie spin. I enjoyed it. I may have only decided to see it because of Olivia Wilde's small part, but it ended up being one of the more memorable and honest movies of this type that I've seen.
When a man and woman flirt with each other at a wedding reception, the sexual tension seems spontaneous. As they break from the party to a hotel room, the flirtation turns into a night filled with passion and remorse.
Aaron Eckhart flirts with ex Helena Bonham Carter at a wedding ? before long they find themselves alone in a hotel room. Things get complicated. Leads are very good, Eckhart's veneer of smugness gradually, effectively peels away, and I'd almost forgotten the appealing, playful quality Bonham Carter has when she plays down-to-earth. It's shot unconventionally ? completely in split screen so sometimes we have two versions of the one scene, sometimes one shot of the present and one of the past, and sometimes two differing outcomes to the same conversation. The effect adds layers of emotional resonance to what essentially is an hour-and-a-half of two people talking - think Before Sunset meets Timecode. Yeah, that good.
Still, for all the preceding formal daring and witty wordplay, the poignant final scene in the taxi(s) kicks like a mule.
Conversations... is a film full of dialogue. The film is dialogue. The two characters flirt, attack, play, and perforate each other and the bullshit they throw between each other. That brings us to the gimmick: the film is shot as a split screen, which was used in '60's films and American Graffiti, but in this film it works. You see the character saying something and witness the reaction all at the same time. Director Hans Canosa also uses this to throw in a little detail about the lives of the pair and their past. Eckhart and Bonham Carter are great together with with Bonham carter's performance very riveting.
Conversations with Other Women is a great little film that seems to have been made on a shoestring budget yet captures the soul of the film. A great little gem that seems to have been buried over the last few years. If you get a chance don't miss it.
The script was realistic, intelligent, clever and funny with several good moments.
The split screen was probably the key thing to this film that really blew my mind. Here you could really focus on the persons emotions and the technique helped the story by giving the viewer flashbacks and alternate versions of the situations handeld in the film.
The last image were the split screen emerges into one... What can I say? Perfect ending to the movie.
Two guests at an out-of-town wedding are attracted to each other. They spend an evening discussing, reminiscing, rekindling a past love affair. It's a good movie.
[color=black]At first it was jarring and even irritating. But I appreciate cinematic experiments, so I was willing to go with it. I was intrigued to see if this violation of one of the universal techniques of cinematic story-telling would produce some new kind of movie experience for me.[/color]
[color=black]I cannot say that it did. A part of me did like the split-screen perspective after a while, but mostly when it was used to disrupt time, not just space. By that I mean that there were moments when the two images on the screen weren't taking place at the same point in time. For example, if a character was having a memory, the other side of the screen would become the memory. [/color]
[color=black]More radically, the editor sometimes put two different takes of the same scene on the screen. The same actor would be seen, but on the left side they would read the line in one way, and on the right side they would read it another way. It is edited such that they don't speak over each other, so you can hear the lines being read differently. This was done quite poetically, I thought, a few times in the film, with in a sense one story being told two ways simultaneously, sort of echoing each other. The line-readings weren't radically different, but they struck different nuances in interesting ways.[/color]
[color=black]But the bottom line for me was that I didn't care about these people, so I was never taken up by the film. I didn't care if they slept with each other or not, or whether they got back together or not, which is what the film focuses on.[/color]
[color=black]The film contains only two characters, played by Aaron Eckhart and the bewitching Helen Bonham Carter, who is absolutely gorgeous here. They meet at a wedding and we follow their conversation through that whole evening. There are no other characters. Two other people come onscreen and speak for a couple of minutes. This gives the film an almost microscopic quality, zooming in on two people only. Occasionally some silent images are seen of what the main characters were like as youngsters.[/color]
[color=black]The film also has only two sets: the wedding and then the hotel afterward. At the wedding, the two characters are seated away from the party, so there is almost literally no one else ever onscreen. It is very arid. It almost seems like these two are the only people left on Earth. This eventually gave me a feeling of suffocation. [/color]
[color=black]I was intrigued by the split-screen technique more than I thought I would be, and I'd like to see more filmmakers experiment with it. The DVD contains a brief interview with the director, where he explains what attracted him to the technique. I found his ideas very exciting. At one point he says that the split screen "allows the audience to participate in the editing of the film," by constructing their own perspective on what to focus on. I found that quite intriguing.[/color]
[color=black]I just hope future experiments with the technique start with an interesting script with characters that someone could care about. The story itself has to be interesting before you start experimenting with ways to tell it. This is something that experimental filmmakers never seem to get, and that's a big reason their work is generally ignored. [/color]
[font=Century Gothic]"Conversations with Other Women" is an engaging, wise and witty movie about the perils of living in the past. The movie tells its story in real time using the split-screen technique that Mike Figgis used in his failed experiments but here it works because the director, Hans Canosa, has a story to tell and uses the split-screen also to show flashbacks and alternate realities. And it does not hurt that Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhart have great chemistry working together.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Note: I missed the first few minutes of this movie due to mysteriously altered showtimes, New York City subway track work and the mistaken belief that all movies start 10-15 minutes late.[/font]