I watched this film as it was one that was lying around the house for a long time, looking vaguely interesting, but obviously not enough to engage my time before now. With Aaron Eckhart and Helena Bonham-Carter as the two leads, I figured it must be worthwhile.
The style of this film is what makes it stand out as ‘a bit different’ as we are presented with two screens simultaneously, with a different aspect in each: at times, we are just shown the characters in the present time from a different angle, at other times, we are given a scene from the past, meant to represent the character’s thoughts at the time. This is a very interesting device as it allows us into the inner world of the character, and also gives the interaction between the two main characters much more credence: the way in which the character’s mind is elsewhere during their conversation very much replicates the way our mind darts from one thing to another, and how memory can be triggered in a vast range of ways.
The story tells of a former husband of wife, estranged for many years, who meet up at the husband’s sister’s wedding, for which the [wife] was asked, last minute, to stand in for the seventh bridesmaid who failed to turn up. Both the man and woman have since moved on with their lives, but their relationship ended abruptly, leaving them both with a lot of emotional baggage, and questions that were never answered. From the outset, we are led to believe that these are strangers, meeting for the first time, but as the night unfolds, more and more about their characters, their past and their relationship is revealed, in a manner that is intriguing, leaving much to the imagination and keeping us engaged during parts of the conversation that are otherwise dull and tedious. I think this is done purposefully for two reasons: firstly, it is more true to life that a conversation between two people with such a distant past is never going to roll off the tongue, as it were, but rather be more awkward, fragmented and uncomfortable. And secondly, the tedium of the conversation brings us into real time, so we are drawn into the experience of the characters.
The way in which this film was directed was very creative, and really worked well for this particular film, whose screenplay was sensitively devised and characters skilfully portrayed