Life on a beautiful escarpment overlooking the ocean in a sunny coastal Australian town amongst your with friends and family is not without drama. Two best friends grow up to be mothers, raising two surfer sons who too are best friends. One drunken night lines are crossed (read: sex), but as the new relationships form, they all realize they don’t want to go back.
Naomi Watts and Robin Wright are the very sexy mothers and best friends whose offspring, Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville, are also sexy and best friends. Also, Ben Mendelsohn is wonderful as usual.
Whatever potentialthis romantic drama possesses in the opening few scenes, which finds a quartet of attractive and very close people acting on their latent sexual urges, is wasted almost instantly, as a vacuous, meaningless film follows that makes no attempt at intrigue or nuance.
Notions of love and lust, the familiar and novel, comfort and convenience, all should have a place in this intimate portrait of life away from everything and everyone. Instead, Anne Fontaine’s film adaptation of The Grandmothers, a book written by Doris Lessing, lacks conviction, and its weak attempts to be provocative only allow the film to become a joke.
It’s easy to dismiss the plot of Adore initially, and better pacing and a tighter script would make it all the more compelling, but there is deep down a subject that is both fascinating and challenging. It is easy to see how wonderful life would be living on the coast with your family and best friend, working somewhere in town at a job you don’t hate, only to return to your beautiful vista and warm company. It is also easy to understand how spending so much time with the same attractive person of the opposite sex in such a innocent albeit romantic environment would lead to sexual tension and a drunken evening of acting out.
That is how things get going, as Roz is taken to bed by the very young Ian, who is both her best friend’s son, and her son’s best friend. In an act of retaliation, the very young Tom, who is both Ian’s best friend and Roz’s son, seduces Lil, Ian’s mother and Roz’s best friend. Follow that? There is also plenty of curiosity surrounding Roz and Lil, as many, including Roz’s husband, wonder if they are lesbians.
As it turns out, it all sounds more complicated than it actually is, as once the dust settles on this soap-operatic melodrama, the beachy foursome realizes that they are all happy in this situation and want to carry on this these relationships (Roz’s husband is left out).
The plot seems to have overwhelmed the creators as there should be far more interesting conversations and a flood of emotions elicited from this movie. Unfortunately it’s dull and matter-of-fact, and the characters become unlikeable and silly when they should be confused, torn, honest, and empathetic. Adore wants to be a film about falling into the conveniences of relationships, settling for a life in a bubble with those who make you feel good about your choices instead of choosing a path and person that challenges you.
What’s more, a frenetic finale filled with screaming and lies on screen leads to only eye-rolling and scoffing in the seats, when the close (which seems to take hours) should in fact be startling and thought-provoking. There is a compelling film lying dormant in Adore, but it rarely shows itself. Perhaps like the four main characters, it’s just too uncomfortable to come out into the world and do something bold.
Should You See It?
It is nowhere near as alarming, provocative, or sexy as it needs to be to command a theatre viewing – so no.
In all honesty, the best was from an anonymous critic, who amid a cacophony of laughter from the press corps at just how ridiculous the film was, who said, ‘How is this film not over yet?’ It’s really trying.