Review: Adore (Fontaine, 2013)

Still from the movie Adore

Oh finally! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie so bad that I’ve just wanted to crap all over it. Sometimes there’s more to say about a shitty film than a good one.

I was initially taken in by the fact that Adore is based off of a Doris Lessing collection that I later learned is titled The Grandmothers. To understand my review, you’ll have to know that the film’s premise is that of two aging best friends who each fall in love with the other’s teenage son. Yes, it’s naughty. I chose that word in particular because of its evocation of pornography. The whole first half of the movie felt like a porn made for females. The filmmaker casted the gorgeous (but not my type) Xavier Samuel to play the boring son and the nearly equally handsome James Frecheville to play the other son, who is darker and thus more interesting, but ultimately still a vacuous stereotype. Had the two auditioned for a male strip club instead, I would not have been able to tell the difference. Whether the young actors just didn’t have the acting chops to make their characters compelling or whether the script just didn’t give them much to work with I’ll never know for sure. Maybe it doesn’t matter since all they were good for were those ridiculous shots of their washboard abs. In the beginning, one of the mothers (played by Robin Wright) leans over to the mother played by Naomi Watts and says, “They’re like young gods.” It seems that director Anne Fontaine wanted to ensure she lived up to that promise.

As the movie plodded from one unbelievable scene to the next, I couldn’t help wondering what the original source material was like. Did Lessing get dotty in her old age, or did Fontaine completely twist her work? Would the Nobel laureate be rolling over in her grave at this? The only way to find out is to read The Grandmothers, I suppose.

Robin Wright and Naomi Watts do their best to rescue the movie, though I couldn’t ever get used to Wright’s Australian accent. Had their opposites been fuller people, the film might have (but probably not) pulled me in more. As it was, the discrepancy between the acting quality of the two sets of actors almost made the film worse than if everyone had been terrible.

I’m trying to think if the movie had any redeeming qualities. Or if I at least gained anything from watching it. Oh yes, I thought of something. I now have a new location I want to visit: Seal Rocks, New South Wales, Australia. God it’s beautiful there.

Note: What? This movie went to Sundance in 2013? Bah.