Thursday 10th October, 12pm – Vue West End, Screen 7
Friday 11th October, 6pm – Vue West End, Screen 5
Sunday 13th October, 3.30pm – Cine Lumiere
Based on Doris Lessing’s short story The Grandmothers, Anne Fontaine’s adaptation Adore deals with a handful of taboo concepts with a cool, candid tone. Roz (Robin Wright, Forest Gump) and Lil (Naomi Watts, The Impossible) are neighbours and lifelong friends, utterly devoted to one another through thick and thin. With each of their husbands for the most part out of the picture, the women and their respective handsome sons quickly become a tight-knit foursome. When Lil’s son Ian (Xavier Samuel, Eclipse) and Roz submit to their mutual attraction one night, all boundaries dissolve and each friend enters an ill-advised relationship with the other’s son.
Anne Fontaine’s direction is near flawless. It is undeniable that many would shudder at the idea of any parent sleeping with someone they had half-raised but somehow Adore defies expectations. In fact, uncomfortable couplings aside, this is a love story – not only about the love between the women and their young paramours, but between Roz and Lil themselves. Fontaine explores so many different dynamics between the central four that the relationships quickly tangle into an extremely complex web. At the peak of the honeymoon phase, Lil comments: “I don’t want to stop. I don’t see why we should have to.” Her question is answered as the film unfolds and innocent supporting characters are inevitably roped in and hurt irreparably.
Of course, Fontaine’s talent is reflected in her strong leading cast. Wright and Watts are simply phenomenal, with an easy rapport that speaks for Roz and Lil’s deep connection – which is fortunate, as their relationship is perhaps the most intrinsic to the story. Wright also has a fiery chemistry with Samuel, who in turn is excellent as a smouldering and intense Ian. Unfortunately there is slightly less chemistry between Lil and Tom (James Frecheville, The First Time), but this is rectified by the fact that their characters’ relationship (while illicit and passionate) is far more casual than the former.
Adore is uncomfortable and complicated, but beautifully done. It would be very easy to dismiss the film as sleaze or titillation, but Fontaine, a budding auteur, unravels her plot delicately and reveals an evocative and poignant love story. If a filmmaker’s job is to make her audience think, then Fontaine has a long and successful career ahead of her.
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Watch the trailer for Adore here: