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Abbas Kiarostami

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Plot Summary

Juliette Binoche won the Best Actress prize in Cannes for her performance in this playful and provocative romantic drama from legendary auteur Abbas Kiarostami (TASTE OF CHERRY, THE WIND WILL CARRY US), his first feature made outside of Iran. Binoche plays a gallery owner living in a Tuscan village who attends a lecture by a British author (opera star William Shimell) on authenticity and fakery in art. Afterward, she invites him on a tour of the countryside, during which he is mistaken for her husband. They keep up the pretense and continue on their afternoon out, discussing love, life and art, and increasingly behaving like a long-married couple. But are they play-acting on a whim or is there more to their seemingly new relationship than meets the eye?

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews

TOMATOMETER

88%
  • Reviews Counted: 119
  • Fresh: 105
  • Rotten: 14
  • Average Rating: 7.9/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Despite its modernist sensibility, there is little reason to be intimidated, unless you find the character of James abhorrent. – Stephen Holden, New York Times, Mar 11, 2011

Fresh: Like its central couple, the film is a volatile mix of the studied and deeply felt. – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times, Mar 10, 2011

Fresh: A film as audacious and radical as any likely to see theaters this year. – Scott Tobias, NPR, Mar 18, 2011

Fresh: A brilliant, endlessly fascinating work. – David Denby, New Yorker, Mar 14, 2011

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

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The most boring Juliette Binoche movie ever!! Long monlogues, uninteresting conversations... keeps switching from Italian to English. Very disappointing movie. Best thing about the movie: Tuscany!

as authentic as it gets

(warning: spoiler alert) this is a heart-wrenchingly honest film about a long-married couple grappling with disillusions; one holding on, the other chickening out. the moments captured by the director is so vibrantly real, vital and raw, i was completely absorbed every second of this film that is filled with juliette binoche's kaleidoscope emotions: all registered on her expressive face. the male lead could have done a better job in a scene where he was supposedly enraged, but otherwise, the twists and subtleties of the plot reveal a simplicity that is true in all love stories: how does one keep at love without losing one's faith in its truth….? how does one keep the love authentic when compromises must be made to make it so, when faking it sometimes means keeping it real?
the husband stands for child-like naiveté: for living for the moment as an authentic life. the wife begs for an alternate view in love: responsibility that comes with loving, protection that comes with caring.

heart-breaking when i've lived this myself and know what it is to be the one so willing to keep at love…

truly insightful film-making on this subject.

Thoughtful Twisty Essay

I'm surprised to read the other reviews, especially the great extremes of loving and hating this movie … it's very personal, I suppose. I was first worried it would be romantic and sentimental, then I found it intriguing, lastly I think I get that it's part a glimpse into both the decay and the beauty in a maturing relationship, while also partly very consumed with using the concept of individual experiences as expressed in universal ways. The director and writer have twisted the tale into one that pulls us (it did me) into this net. Are we talking about copies of original art, antiques or surrogates in relationships … are they married? do they have a shared life experience? or do the specifics of their real identities matter since these issues are ones many know very well (and perhaps why many here are feeling so passionately one way or the other)? I thought it masterful in how once at the end, we cannot tell if these two are strangers sharing parallel sentiments or long-time lovers at the end of their time together. I found that most worthy of applause. Binoche was superb, but I found non-actor, opera singer William Shimell a fresh surprise. I say, certainly, give this a try.

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