Posted: 10/13/2008

 

Five Moments of Infidelity

(2006)

by Del Harvey




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Five Moments Of Infidelity follows a hodgepodge of Australian middle class characters who are either straight or gay as they experience the full range of problems arising from convoluted relations, sexual and emotional. Through the course of the film these situations range from simple psychological mistakes such as incompatibility, typical marital problems and sexual frustration to sexual harassment and some self-destructive teen libidos. All of this makes for lots of emotional drama with a strong undercurrent of sex. The whole thing often borders on soap opera, but the director, Kate Gorman, keeps things on an even keel thanks in large part to her ability to direct the actors and the scene to best advantage.

The drama focuses on five couples and the problems they are having with their relationships, both within their established relationships as well as through their complex maze of external relationships. These sexual indiscretions have been well-synched to the characters’ backgrounds so that a strong sense of realism runs throughout each of these twisted situations, thus making them more believable than most.

One of my personal complaints with this film had to do with the obtrusive music, which seems discordant and counter to the personal drama inherent within each of the character’s stories. But the acting and direction are strong enough that this can be overlooked if one has the capacity to shut that aspect of the film out of their thoughts.

But, back to the couples… They are a mixed bag, each struggling with their own inner demons as they search for something more through the vicarious and tenuous chance encounter offered by love. There is a gentleman who is convinced he has an addition to having affairs. There is a gay couple who claims to have an open relationship but who seem to be in some denial over their agreement over this issue. There is a nymphomaniac teen who allows her libido to rule her life. And there is a mom with a guilty secret and an alcohol dependency who doesn’t know when to say, “No.” There are still a few other, lesser characters, but all of them have their own cross to bear and their own relationship issues to overcome. The nice thing about the film is that director Kate Gorman infuses a sense of realism into each person’s core values, so that we find their plight believable and come away feeling as though we have been given a glimpse into the world behind the surface of a small community, and they are no different than we are because we all have some form of issue we struggle with on a regular basis. To make their situations even more believable, these people’s lives are intertwined via the normal channels – work, social and community events and situations – the same as the rest of us.
Director Gorman does her very best with a group of unknown actors, and to her credit, she comes away with a better picture for taking the risk on unknowns. I found a certain charm to those aspects of their humanity which peeked through the actor’s costume from time to time. It gave the overall piece a sense of the stage play performed in real time on a live stage. And we all know what Shakespeare had to say about that.

Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.



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