MRR Review: "Adore"

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A pair of childhood friends and neighbors fall for each other's sons.
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MRR Review: "Adore"

Rating: R (Sexual content, language)
Length: 100 min
Release date: Sept. 6, 2013
Directed by:Anne Fontaine
Genre: Drama

"Adore" is a controversial love story about two childhood best friends who succumb to the charms of two younger men. The twist is that each woman falls for her best friend's son. The film revolves around Roz and Lil, two friends who have been inseparable since birth and have spent their entire lives living in a luxurious neighborhood on a wealthy Australian island. While Roz is widowed, Lil has the perfect husband, and the two women lead comfortable and relaxing lives. Both women have newly adult sons named Tom and Ian.

When Lil's husband disappears on a business trip, the mother-and-son pairs decide to go on vacation. With nothing to do besides enjoy the surf and lounge around on the beach, the four spend almost every waking hour together. Roz finds herself spending more and more time with her friend's son, and as Roz and Ian grow closer, romantic tension develops and threatens to undermine the bond between Roz and Lil and the bond between Ian and Tom. When Tom finds out about his mother's indiscretions, he immediately approaches Lil. As they sort things out, Lil and Tom develop feelings for each other as well.

As the film progresses, the love between the two unlikely couples deepens. Director Anne Fontaine uses the controversial story elements to delve into normally forbidden topics. The narrative reveals that both Tom and Ian are having problems letting go of their close ties to their mothers and stepping out into the adult world. Meanwhile, Roz and Lil are having a hard time with their children leaving the nest. Rather than a glorification of the taboo, "Adore" provides a realistic look at the complex relationship dynamics that result when people fall for an archetype rather than a person. While Roz and Ian do develop strong, genuine feelings for each other, it becomes clear that Tom is using Lil as a way to establish his independence without losing the guidance of a mother figure.

In addition to its scandalous storyline, "Adore" will hold your attention with its riveting performances by Naomi Watts and Robin Wright, each one a legendary actress in her own right. Robin portrays Roz, while Naomi takes on the role of the flighty Lil. Roz's character is full of regret and emotional nuance, both of which Robin Wright portrays flawlessly. Meanwhile, Lil's character delves into the life of a woman who seems to have everything on the surface but is deeply bored with her marriage and her role in life. While Lil and Roz may giggle like schoolgirls when they get together, both women are complex and mature individuals who find themselves faced with the reality of getting older and accepting that they haven't accomplished as much as they want to.

Ian and Tom have their own fair shares of depth and internal conflict. While Tom is more content to leave his summer affair in the past, Ian becomes fixated on Roz. Even after both young men move on, marry women their own ages, and start a family, Ian's heart remains with his one true love. "Adore" tackles what it means to find your soul mate along with the pain that comes from being unable to pursue the relationship.

In addition to a fascinating storyline and strong acting, "Adore" is full of crisp and beautiful cinematography that truly delves into the island culture that shapes the characters. It is easy to see how Roz and Lil become lost in the past in such a timeless, peaceful environment with few challenges other than finding entertainment for the day. The ocean scenes are visually stunning, capturing the beauty of the Australian coast. "Adore" is a nuanced film that contains plenty of subtle and thoughtful social commentary without making any pronouncements of judgment. This film is one of the few that simply allows its audience the chance to get to know its characters and understand their struggles and temptations. "Adore" is a refreshing drama without any pretense to detract from the story of its very human characters.

Rating: 3 out of 5