The Face of Love started off with a strong opening scene, where Nikki’s (Annette Bening) grief of her husband’s, Garrett (Ed Harris), death was somber and lonely; she sat alone in her patio chair beside the penumbral rectangular pool, the one her husband swam in every day. She reminisced blissful memory of the time they celebrated their 30th anniversary at a resort. Absent-mindedly she knocked off the wine glass, which shattered into small pieces like her broken heart. She picked up few broken pieces and squeezed hard in her hand to numb her emotional pain…
Into the second act, what was strong had been diluted into a soapy melodrama that was full of unnecessary deceits and selfishness. It started out with an improbable chance meeting at the LCAMA(Los Angeles County Museum of Arts), where Nikki saw her dead husband’s doppëlganger, Tom. There were only two choices for Nikki: re-bounce or resurrect.
In other words, for the remainder of the film, I was waiting for director, Arie Posin, to give me a plausible resolution of what Nikki was experiencing: hallucination? her new boyfriend was nothing like her late husband, i.e., she saw what she wanted to? a dream?
The tailored cathartic ending was nothing but a histrionic mess borrowed from the one classic sence in From Here to Eternity(1953), except it wasn’t about falling in love.
Unfortunately, daughter’s, Summer(Jess Weixler), meagre screen time was solely to point out her mother action contradicted the advice her daughter got: falling in love is good, but be careful, I don’t want you to get hurt. Neighbour, Roger(Robin Williams), almost like an extra, was Nikki’s antithesis of dealing with lost. Perhaps, these underused characters with more elaborated roles could offer a more satisfying intriguing mystery drama: François Ozon‘s Swimming Pool (2003).
Despite Bening’s and Harris’s strong and natural display of emotional entanglement of love, it got bloated and tiresome quickly. However, the film offered beautiful photography; most of the time the actors were surrounded by vibrant paintings and post-modern architectural designs. At least it helped to lightened things up a bit.
SKIP…only if you and your love are in the mood for a story of unrelenting love!