Review: ADORE (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Review: ADORE (2013)

I hate to break this to you but your teenage son's weenie is smaller than my hubby.
Despite provocative subject matter and appealing cast, ADORE is surprisingly silly in its execution that hard to take it seriously.

On the surface, the premise for ADORE (which was previously known as TWO MOTHERS when it first screened at the Sundance Film Festival) is fascinating, yet controversial enough to spark an interest -- a pair of older women engage in forbidden love affairs with each other's teenaged sons. Despite headlined by recognized talents of Naomi Watts and Robin Wright, Anne Fontaine's first English-language debut (she was previously known for her work in 2009's COCO BEFORE CHANEL) is nothing more than a glossy drama ruined by absurd situation about forbidden sex and love.


Adapted from Doris Lessing's novel The Grandmothers, ADORE centers on two lifelong friends Lil (Naomi Watts) and Roz (Robin Wright) who each have a son, Ian (Xavier Samuel) and Tom (James Frecheville). Both of them live in neighboring beach houses located at the oceanic paradise on Australia's East Coast. Lil is recently a widow who just lost her husband, while Roz seems to be emotionally distant with her husband Harold (Ben Mendelsohn) after he decides to move south for a lucrative Sydney University position. He wants his wife and son to follow, but both Roz and Tom are not ready to move just yet. Then one day, Ian starts to develop a feeling for Roz. It doesn't take long before Roz eventually responded to Ian and both of them begins their forbidden love affairs. When Tom finds out about them, he made similar moves on Lil, who also eventually gives in despite resisting him at the first place. As they go on with their affairs, Roz soon realizes she needs to put an end of this before the situation gets any worse.
Acting-wise, both Naomi Watts and Robin Wright are quite captivating in their roles as two mothers break the taboos by falling for each other's sons. As for the technical side, Christophe Beaucarne's lush cinematography brings a certain sensual and warm feeling to its Australia's East Coast beach setting, while Christopher Gordon's and Antony Partos' atmospheric orchestral score is beautifully realized.

It's a shame that Anne Fontaine's clumsy direction and Christopher Hampton's poorly-adapted screenplay ruins most of the movie's credibility. Most of the dialogues are laughable, especially the part when Lil and Roz confesses about their forbidden love affairs. And despite its controversial subject matter, the movie fails to justify their despicable action with little psychological or emotional depth of any kind. Even when the plot thickens until the climactic finale, the payoff is empty and unsatisfying altogether. Other than least competent acting from Watts and Wright, the same cannot be said for the rest of the cast. Both Samuel and Frecheville are sadly reduced to lackluster performances where Fontaine seems to prefer shooting their handsome looks and well-sculpted bodies than anything matters. Equally thankless as well is Ben Mendelsohn, who is also wasted as Roz's husband, Harold.
Look at your face... So smooth and silky. What kind of facial product do you use?

ADORE could have been one of the must-see controversial movies of the year, if not for Fontaine's miscalculated approach on its subject matter. Here, she botches much of its promising setup and only manages a fraction of it.

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