For Reel

The Lovers (2017)
August 10, 2017, 3:27 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Azazel Jacobs
3.5 Stars
The LoversThe Lovers is a story that might have attracted Ernst Lubitsch nearly a century ago—it is a comedy of remarriage in which two cheating lovers (Tracy Letts and Debra Winger) rekindle their passions for one another. Whereas the trope was familiar in old Hollywood, dead-end relationships and the subsequent break-up is now often a starting problem for an idealist protagonist to overcome. Azazel Jacobs’ satirical screenplay wisely observes what really drove the couple apart in the first place—a ceaseless longing for something better, which it turns out is only a reflection of each partner’s individual unhappiness. Letts’ Michael is the more abrasive of the personalities (a late appearance by the couple’s son (Tyler Ross) reveals that the child thinks of his father as a tormenting monster), but they are both grounded as sad people looking for something more. Although Jacobs gives the drama a heft through the staging, editing, and musical score, the key developments happen through glances and body gestures. When Letts and Winger wake up face-to-face, the scene doesn’t play as a rekindling of their sexual romance, but rather the couples’ mutual understanding that they are being cheated on. Unfortunately, the overly-theatrical third act abandons these quiet revelations in favor of shouting matches, but the way the relationships resolve themselves feels just right.

The Lovers (1958)
March 18, 2011, 4:28 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Louis Malle

The Lovers is an extraordinarily important film in the history of American censorship in that it led to a significant court case in which the United States Supreme Court ruled that the controversial material was not to be considered obscene. It is also a painfully tepid experience to sit through – what one could imagine to be the filmic adaptation of whatever sleazy romance novel a sexually frustrated middle-aged woman has on her bookshelf. Jeanne Moreau, who famously has an orgasm in the film which partially led to the obscenity case, plays an unfulfilled bourgeois housewife who is swept away into a lustful affair with a young student. The material is erotic insofar as the camera often glides across the naked skin of two beautiful people, however the film ultimately serves as dreadfully boring wish-fulfillment – the characters aren’t interesting, and it certainly isn’t interesting to watch them exchange numbing dialogue with unconvincing passion inbetween flurries of sex.