Juliette Binoche, William Shimell
Elle: He’s not into languages. He’s not into anything except for himself and his job.
Woman: That’s good. A man must love his job.
Elle: And what about us women?
Woman: It keeps them busy…and we live our lives.
Elle (Binoche) attends a book signing, meets the author afterward, and takes him to various places in Tuscany.
This one felt like it could have been the 3rd movie in the Before Sunrise/Before Sunset series. I didn’t like it quite as much as I liked those two movies, but it is still an interesting look into the lives of the two main characters.
Basically, we follow Elle (got that name from IMDB by the way, I don’t think she’s named in the movie) and James (Shimell) around Tuscany and listen in on their conversation. At first there’s a lot of philosophizing on the nature and value of art, but eventually their discussion ventures down other paths that start to reveal the true nature of the relationship between these two people who are seemingly strangers.
To say more would be revealing too much of the plot, but the plot really isn’t the most important thing here. What’s important is how interesting the two main characters are. In Before Sunrise/Sunset, I found both characters to be equally interesting, but here, I thought Elle was the much more interesting of the two. James isn’t as fully developed, and is used more as a way to bring more detail out of Elle than as a fully realized character of his own.
That results in the movie being more about Elle, and Juliette Binoche is definitely up to the task of carrying the load. She can do sweet and loving or angry in subtle ways or more emotive ways, but it always feels real. I can’t quite say the same for Shimell, as some of this outbursts seemed forced. Though, generally he’s good too.
There really isn’t a whole lot more to say that doesn’t venture into spoiler territory, so I’ll end with this. If you’re looking for a nice looking, character driven movie with a sense of humor, and you don’t mind about 50% of the dialogue requiring that you read subtitles, this is a good choice.
Hand on the shoulder…simple gesture…very reassuring.
10 – 1 because I thought the James character was a little thin – 1.5 because the conversations didn’t always hold my attention = 7.5