I don't feel getting into the details of the story is enough to draw someone to the film because if it does, it might be for the wrong reasons... Every plot specification seems so small in comparison to the towering human drama unfolding. Damage is really about two people who, for whatever reason, just need something forbidden and hurtful to feel alive. It is as though their lives made them so unmotivated and sad that they need anything, even pain, to overcome that sadness. Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche's characters are forbidden to have a relationship, sexual or not, and yet they simply have to, against all circumstances, aware of the gigantic risks involved.
Probably, both characters ask themselves, what do those risks even really mean? Would it really be so terrible? Regardless of the fact that in the end the consequences really do prove terrible, theirs is an understandable situation, if only from their points of view. Both characters seem, and are damaged for various reasons, and their salvation seems to be more damage. A collision of pain that only between them can become pleasure. It's exhausting to watch this film, I remember that. But it's beautiful because it portrays how vital intimacy and understanding between humans is, and how enriching it can be. I mean, what do we live off, how do we give our lives meaning without relationships? We need to communicate, to put in common our experiences and fears and desires in order to evolve and enrich ourselves. How it happens in Damage is sad and pathetic but it's still crucial.
Miranda Richardson is great. She's just great. Juliette Binoche bothered me a little, but perhaps it was her incomprehensible character. Jeremy Irons, well, I can never say anything bad about him... here he is intense, damaged, and totally made stupid by his desperation. Just perfect.
Finally... erotic yes. sexy, oh my god, no.
Jeremy Irons(who sort of reminds me of Daniel Day-Lewis) is just right for the role as the British government minister Dr. Stephen Fleming and so is Juliette Binoche as the dark, quiet very exotic Anna Barton. Some may felt the film's tone is slow and boring. Not me. "Damage" kept me locked in from start to finish. It is quite a great movie film lovers have to see.
Jeremy Irons, rarely an actor who disappoints, was miscast in this role, in my view. He plays a senior English politician with many years of experience, a wife and family. Anyone with any knowledge of the British political system knows it takes a very strong character, with willpower and the ability to resist temptation, to reach the top of the English political system, so the ease with which Juliette Binoche's character seduces and attracts Irons is unrealistic and annoying, quite frankly. Though Irons acts convincingly as always, his character is just wrong, and I'm surprised he took the role in the first place.
Binoche's character herself is also disappointing. Obviously, the director has aimed to make her as mysterious as possible, but there just isn't enough character development to make us care about her at all. Considering Irons and Binoche are advertised as the two stars of the film, their lack of chemistry and character development is a serious shortcoming in Damage.
More positive and memorable performances come from Rupert Graves and Miranda Richardson, Irons' son and wife respectively. Their characters are much more interesting to watch, making it a pity that they are only secondary in importance to Irons and Binoche.
That all said, the premise is pretty good, and their is some great direction from Louis Malle. Damage isn't a bad film, but it could have been so much better, Overall, I do not recommend it.