Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Adoration

WRITTEN BY: Christopher Hampton
DIRECTED BY: Anne Fontaine
STARRING: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel, James Frecheville, Ben Mendelsohn
RATING: 1.5 stars

There is a scene in Adoration where for a very brief moment you think a mother is about to commit incest with her son. It does not happen, thankfully, and as an audience there was a collective awkward giggle and sigh of relief that it never happened. While the film does not quite reach that level of creepiness, it certainly is confronting in other ways. Nonetheless, like a horrific train wreck, you cannot help but be engrossed in the tale until the end comes and you realise what a pointless story it really was.

The plot, which is based on Doris Lessing's novella, The Grandmothers, is fairly simple. Lil (Naomi Watts) and Roz (Robin Wright) are childhood friends and neighbours who fall in love with each other's sons, Tom (James Frecheville) and Ian (Xavier Samuel). Their affairs last years, ruining marriages and making many awkward situations.

Filmed in New South Wales, Adoration is visually beautiful, depicting the Australian beach and scenery. But there is some woeful dialogue that jars the presentation of the story. It seems more like a soap opera at times and the idea of a woman having sex with a young man she has known since his birth feels too dirty. Yet, I reluctantly found myself supporting the relationship between Roz and Ian, who seem to be genuinely in love despite the massive hurdle. Perhaps it was that which kept me intrigued with the story, although I ultimately felt little enthusiasm for the film, especially with characters who barely feel any remorse.

Given how disturbing the story is, it is remarkable that the film has such a good cast. Wright's Australian accent is quite good and only slips a few times. Watts unfortunately continues her terrible run of film choices following Diana because she is hardly impressive. Samuel is a stand-out performer, while Frecheville was too wooden at times. Sophie Lowe and Jessica Tovey play the younger love interests for Ian and Tom, while Ben Mendelsohn has a small role as Roz's husband but he has little to work with. Gary Sweet also has a thankless role as a potential suitor for Lil.

Ultimately, I cannot say I would ever recommend Adoration to anyone because it is so morally wrong without having much purpose.
 
 
 

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