This is one of those movies where two people have an intense conversation in a pretty part of Europe. But with a twist. Think of it like a psychotic, mid life Before Sunrise, where the man is British instead of American.
My biggest problem with this film is simply that it is too fantastic – people don’t do this stuff. I get that this is the appeal for many people of a film like this, on some level it’s romantic fantasy. But it’s not one I can buy into – I just think that if I was in this man’s position, I would try to get the hell out of Dodge as soon as she claimed we’re married. (Maybe not that soon, but as soon as she started pretending to be married when no one was looking.) Binchoche’s character is just too damn crazy too soon. I don’t really understand why Shimell’s character plays ball until he goes kind of crazy too. The whole thing is supposed to be set up by his book, and their discussions about originality, but I’m just not sure that I buy that discussing originality would lead people into wanting to pretend they had a 15 year relationship. Basically, my credulity was strained from the moment they started to pretend they were married.
However, there are a lot of positives.
It’s super well directed. I mean, it’s a wonderfully shot film. It’s too bad I didn’t like the plot because I loved looking at it. It helps that the film was shot in a beautiful place, but the film is one of those where the technique just convinces you you’re watching a master. I’ve never seen this guy’s films before, but after this one, I’ll definitely see more of them.
It’s reasonably funny, as well. It’s sort of meant as a comedy part of the time, I think, and there are some laughs. I probably would have laughed more if I didn’t think the premise so ridiculous.
And the actors are both great. They are essentially playing two characters, in a way, and they do a great job. It’s not their fault that the story lets them down.
But I just had too many problems with the conceit to really enjoy it. That’s what I meant when I said “psychotic” Before Sunrise. Normal people don’t do this.