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We Don’t Live Here Anymore - directed by John Curran

Monday 6 February 2006

Watching this movie was an incredible experience. One feels like a spy, a pervert… The feeling that one is being indiscrete is overwhelming but the viewer will undoubtedly enjoy the sensation. We Don’t Live Here Anymore is absorbing to say the least. In short, it relates to what happens when a small indiscretion is leaked out into the life of two couples… and the writers took a great deal of pleasure in analysing the resulting internal break up and destruction.

Jack Linden and Hank Evans are university professors and great friends. Their wives, Terry and Edith, also enjoy each other’s company. The two couples form one of those “lucky” groups of people who meet regularly over dinner, once the kids are in bed. During those dinners, conversations are endless, and so is the wine. Nothing is perfect however and appearances are all too deceiving.

Indeed, what began as a seductive game between Edith and Jack will now obliterate friendship, love and trust between the characters. From then on the spectator is led into a suffocating series of arguments and introspective debates. The liaison will destroy everything and the already fragile relationships will shatter, wreaking havoc around them as guilt and open wounds are torn apart. Did the adulterous relationship only exacerbate what was present before, or is it in itself the cause of all this turmoil? Some wounds, time cannot heal…

The acting in this film is perfect. One could object that the roles themselves are not impressively constructed but the emotional outbursts of the four lead actors are incredible. Mark Ruffalo shows that he can go from one role to another without any trouble at all while Naomi Watts shows that there is still hope. Six Feet Under’s Peter Krause is very convincing but his character’s wife, Laura Dern is perhaps the most brilliant of the lot.

The directing itself is sober and elegantly done. The ambiances created by Curran and his cast really ease the spectator into this intriguing position of voyeur, while making it impossible for him to feel comfortable. This is a film about people and complicated relationships. It is a film about lies, cheating, secrets and friendship. And the overall analysis made by the director, John Curran, is not overwhelmingly too positive…

The theme of We Don’t Live Here Anymore has been done and overdone in the past. But rarely has it been exploited in this light and by such superb acting.


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