Opens: July 4
Duration: 125 minutes
A wave of movies has emerged in the last decade catering to older viewers – mostly comedies. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, there is often something remiss with their resort to trite formulae.
An Unexpected Love
This terrific Argentinean film, however, aims higher than your run-of-the-mill “grey” film, though its target audience is a bit younger than grey, more like salt-and-pepper, as it looks at a pair of professionals in their early 50s. While the film’s publicity material describes it as a “romantic comedy”, I see it more as a fascinatingly talky, intelligent drama with comic moments. Apart from being beautifully mounted visually, it’s also flawlessly acted.
For its protagonists, director Juan Vera has cast two of Argentina’s most highly regarded actors, Mercedes Morán and Ricardo Darin. Their Ana and Marcos are a long happily married couple who wave goodbye to their only teenage son as he ventures overseas to study. It’s obvious they still love one another and share a stock of fond memories, but they tend to take all this for granted as they try to deal with the hole now left in their lives.
After talking through their future and facing up to its likely predictability and safeness they decide to separate. For each partner the grass of singledom and fresh experience appears a lot greener than the grey certainties of yet more life spent together.
Marcos is a literature professor who likes to quote Nietzsche and believes one should live on the edge. But is he a born risk-taker or has he just pushed his intellect to the centre of the plate and left his emotions to the side?
The rest of the film follows the former couple as they negotiate relationships with new acquaintances including a diabolical perfumier, a gorgeous young busker and an older painter – all counterpointed by an old friend’s secret, long-term adultery.
The question silently hanging in the air is, ‘will they recognise they really belong together, and what will they decide if they do?’ I won’t spoil, but even if you guess the ending correctly, it doesn’t take away from the often deliciously squirm-inducing paths they travel to get there.