5 to 7

| August 17, 2015

When aspiring writer Brian Bloom (Anton Yelchin; Star Trek: Into Darkness) meets the gorgeous French Arielle (Bérénice Marlohe; Skyfall), the connection between them is immediate and powerful.  However, they don’t make it through their first date before Brian discovers that Arielle has a husband (Lambert Wilson: The Matrix: Reloaded).  Arielle and her husband have an arrangement where they stay loyal to each other but are allowed to pursue relationships on the side.  The thought of having an affair, even one with the husband’s permission, is difficult for Brian, but he tries to put his hang-ups aside and enjoy the moment for as long as possible.

There’s a lot to like about this movie.  I’m hard pressed to think about another movie that’s about an open relationship, so I appreciate that fresh take on the conventional romance narrative.  I tend to dislike movies about affairs because infidelity makes me uncomfortable, but having the husband be a willing and charming part of Brian and Arielle’s story made this version of the affair drama much more acceptable to me.

I also appreciate that while the movie is about a struggling artist, the plot doesn’t center on that too much.  The movie is about this relationship and the unconventional, often rocky waters that this type of liaison can cause, and I found that really interesting.  Of course, Brian’s success does come into play as the movie progresses, but it’s not the primary conflict and I appreciate that very much.  Unfortunately while I don’t want Brian’s writing to form the conflict, I would like something to form the conflict.  Yes, Brian is uncomfortable about his uncertain future with Arielle and the inevitability that it’s all going to blow up in his face is palpable, but mostly things work out for all the characters without them having to do anything too monumental.  This causes the movie to drag on a bit, and I tuned out at several occasions.

It’s clear the writer/director of the film (Victor Levin) was greatly inspired by the works of Woody Allen.  with our neurotic but charming protagonist pursuing and attaining the beautiful and intelligent leading lady, it’s not hard to draw parallels to the likes of Annie Hall.  I like Woody Allen as much as the next guy, and I think having those elements at play here have moments where they’re very effective, but I worry about directors that are so heavily influenced by a single previous director.  Amidst the execution of their vision, there’s not a lot of originality, and that’s going to make it difficult for them to emerge as their own voice.

A lot of the acting is very strong, and I especially liked Frank Langella (Superman: Returns) and Glenn Close (Damages) as Brian’s parents.  They’re both amazing and bring a good deal of gravitas to the film, completely stealing their scenes.  I tend to really like Anton Yelchin as well, but I have to admit that this is one of the weaker performances I’ve seen from him.  He’s basically doing a Woody Allen character, I assume at the director’s insistence, but it feels unnatural and stiff.  I’ve recently become a big fan of Miles Teller (Whiplash) and throughout watching this movie couldn’t help but wonder what he would have done with this role.

Special features include a behind the scenes featurette and the film’s trailer.  Available on DVD from IFC Films on August 18.

About the Author:

Joe Sanders Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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