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Married Life (2007)

Directed by Ira Sachs Screenplay by Oren Moverman & Ira Sachs Based on the book “Five Roundabouts to Heaven”

Summary: (While technically set in the year 1949, truly compatible for any decade) Telling a tale about adults and the roles they may play while in courtship. Following Harry Allen (Chris Cooper) throughout the film though it would be narrated by Richard Langley (Pierce Brosnan), his long time friend from grade school. Harry maturing and eventually marrying Pat (Patricia Clarkson) who was ever the dutiful and adoring wife, yet completely unaware of her husband’s unhappiness and motives to leave her for the much younger and newly widowed Kay Nesbitt (Rachel McAdams). Thoughts unruly when coming to the conclusion that the only solution to leave without emotionally scarring her (Pat) would be death, more specifically in the form of poisoning her nightly drink. Yes. Because one wouldn’t want to do anything drastic now would they.

Kay, claiming to love Harry wholeheartedly, clearly left room for some romanticism in her life coming in the form of Richard. Asked by Harry to keep an eye our for and help entertain as he went out-of-town for work. Taking full advantage of the situation and vying for her affection. So ready with his words that he’s able to cleverly finesse Kay with the many reasons in why Harry couldn’t possibly live without his wife. Wining and dining her in between their discussions of love and what it all meant. Wildly enough catching Mrs. Allen within her own state of affairs, convincing that without her presence, Harry would be a complete mess. For no one knew him like she did nor could take care of him the way she already had all these years. Everyone’s situation overlapping over another until a conflict of sorts occurs between two friends and the one woman they lusted over.

The Good: It’s not often I find films with richly written dialogue deconstructing the antiquated beliefs that come with relationships (or marriage in this case). Or rather, presenting such ideas that people may know about, yet wish not to discuss for discouraging the entire idea of the union. Who do we really sleep next to at night and what are they capable of. Do they hold similar thoughts that may cross your mind or think differently entirely without letting such influence their every day life. For what could it be that truly makes a relationship last versus one in which experiences turmoil on an almost daily basis. Considering that people usually go to the movies to avoid thinking for a certain period of time, I wouldn’t expect this aspect to be a positive one for everyone. Needing to take into account that while perhaps not outright humorous (as labeled), that it is a film enveloped in dark humor. These adults going through so much trouble to ensure the sanity of their partner remained intact, yet fully responsible for the ways in which seemed to be separating them entirely.

Though the four main Actors paired perfectly to the script. Rachel McAdams has a grace about her that assist in fitting to the era (though I’ve always been fond of her). Besides gorgeous and years beyond her time, there’s something majestic about the way she’s able to take over a screen and hook you with her every emotion invested into the script. With Chris Cooper obtaining a stillness that makes you never quite sure of where his character may be going. Desperately needed to experience the highs and lows that he does with the outcome at the end chalked up to mere irony. And despite never having a likeness of Pierce Brosnan before (I don’t care how many times he’s played Bond). He does have a certain charm about him that he’s able to bring overall in films, making for the perfect choice as the conniving best friend who merely wanted the best for everyone in the end. But Patricia Clarkson was certainly the hidden gem throughout; the great paradox involving these characters almost revolving entirely around her. Who when first introduced, flat-out states a truth that perhaps her husband wasn’t ready to hear. Yet despite her rather brazen attitude towards the subject, quite an emotional woman and affected by the perceived outlook of her husband.

The Bad: It is a bit slow in pace which can deter some people, rightfully so. In fact, once there’s an established turn of events, it feels like they lose momentum entirely and end somewhat matter of factually. Picking up with the characters one year after whereas in the book it follows them at least twenty years down the line. Also involving an actual murder (though mercifully given) opposed to the tease we get here. Not that a murder was necessary for the story to evolve or for it to make sense. It simply spent so much of the movie going forward with intent that you can’t imagine why you’d otherwise become so invested with all these characters. Even with the special features having three different variations of alternate endings, they all feel just as out-of-place. Because despite its claims of being a comedy it seemed most people were unable to pick up on such. Merely being of adult nature and touching on matters that most would be one-dimensional about.

The Verdict: It’s unfortunate that we live in such a vain world but the fact of the matter is that we do. We take what we have for granted and “want, for nothing.” Married Life doesn’t make any claims that this is how every relationship is or will end up being. It just shows how consumed we can become and lose sight of the things we have chosen to surround ourselves with.