This movie turned out to be so wonderfully simple and yet so perfect. In just under 90 minutes, we get to see these two people meet, fall rapturously in love and part ways. I love the restrained emotions in the beginning and the way these sentiments become almost delirious as the two people continue to meet and fall in love. I was surprised by how sweet and magical and fresh the romance feels given that it’s two middle-aged people that are the protagonists of this story.
I think what makes this story so moving and powerful for me is that nothing complicated or dramatic happens to tear these two people apart. They reject their own mutual desire of their own volition which to me felt ultimately romantic. They seem to be always conscious of the fact that they only have these few minutes with one another and during this time, they seem oblivious to everything else around them. Despite this, it is the banalities of domestic life to which they choose to return. They decide that this is the right choice, the right thing for two sensible adults to do. In that sense, this is almost the opposite of what is usually considered romantic.
I criticized the voiceover in George Washington. here the voiceover worked really well for me. It’s a really simple and unaffected voice and her narration is completely subjective but captures her angst and emotions so well. Her resignation at the end is probably the biggest tragedy in the film.
I loved the two leads and thought they were perfectly cast. The biggest highlight though is the cinematography. It reminded me of some noir movies that I really like (plus there’s voiceover and this sense of guilt permeating throughout the movie). There are some really incredibly beautiful scenes in the film. At the very start of the movie, we are unaware of who the story is about and the exact nature of the relationship between the various clients in the railway cafe. This scene is filmed completely from a neutral perspective where the camera is just observing the cafe guests and even the conversations we hear are other patrons talking to the bartender. We see this scene again at the very end and this time it’s filmed intimately.
And then there’s the scene when Laura and Alec have just discovered and confessed their love for one another. Laura is on her way back home and this time instead of being embarrassed or guilty, she is ecstatic and happy. She is looking at her own reflection in the train window as though meeting for the first time, this stranger who is capable of deceit and lies but also of such intensity and passion.
This is probably my single favorite scene in the entire movie. There’re also a bunch of scenes with some neat use of shadows and such that I don’t have with me right now. Maybe I’ll post them in the random screenshots thread at some point. Oh and I love that they go to the movies together everytime and that we get to see the advertisements that precede their movie!
Yeah, so this is totally awesome and everyone who hasn’t watched this should really check it out.