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We Don't Live Here Anymore

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There was a press screening here a couple days ago, but I missed it, alas. Trailer looks interesting.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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On Wednesday, I have tentative plans to see We Don't Live Here Anymore in the company of Lone Tomato.

I thought the Tomato Man was in Hawaii? What, you're on a wee holiday, Mr O?

And if you go to the movie together, he won't be Lone anymore, will he?


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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Ron wrote:

: I thought the Tomato Man was in Hawaii? What, you're on a wee holiday, Mr O?

No, the Tomato Man is.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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i can't wait to hear about this. i adore mark ruffalo (if anyone's seen the latest entertainment weekly, there's a fantastic article about him--seems like such a genuine, down-to-earth guy). but the trailer was so intense, i wasn't sure if i had the emotional energy for it right now. looking forward to hearing about the movie here before i decide whether or not to see it myself...

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I watched the brilliant Lantana again last night... a film that gets better with repeated viewings... and came away thinking that Lantana and The Ice Storm are like the first two installments in a trilogy about marriage, family, and fatherhood... and I have this hunch that We Don't Live Here Anymore just might be the third installment. These are those rare pro-marital-fidelity films that really dig deep into why marriages fail, and why they're worth preserving.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I watched the brilliant Lantana again last night... a film that gets better with repeated viewings... and came away thinking that Lantana and The Ice Storm are like the first two installments in a trilogy about marriage, family, and fatherhood...

Ooh, nice call, Mr O. LANTANA and ICE STORM really do have a lot in common, not only in their themes but in, I don't know, their "literariness"? So much film slips easily into genre patterns, and seem less like life: characters can seem like plot necessities rather than human souls. These two films seem to be about just plain people living just plain life - well, life under duress, but it's recognizably life.

Other points of contact, definitely. But I'd best not go to far with this: I've got to head off to Elsinore.


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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just a quick note to say i may try to catch this film after all, if only to soak up the aura of mark ruffalo. i watched "13 going on 30" last weekend (uh... don't ask), and then caught "you can count on me" quite by accident, diced up on the oxygen network (uh....), the other night. even with all the commercial breaks, i was reminded what a truly, truly marvelous movie that is--again, largely due to ruffalo's contributions. clearly, i have an embarrassingly gigantic crush on the man (i rented "13 going on 30," for pete's sake), but my respect for him as a genuinely intelligent, sensitive, nuanceful actor supercedes even that.

for a hilarious and insightful interview noah adams recently did with ruffalo at npr (re: "we don't live here..." among other things, including voice modulation), click here.

Edited by kebbie

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Oh, well, now it looks like I will HAVE to see this film!

- - -

Locally shot We Don't Live Here... looks like a hit

It just might be the most successful locally shot independent film ever. . . . Based on a couple of bleak 1970s short stories by the late Andre Dubus (who also wrote In the Bedroom), We Don't Live Here Anymore is a look at the state of contemporary relationships, and revolves around two New England couples, the dynamics of their friendship and the emotional consequences of infidelity. Shot in April 2003 from a moribund script written several years ago by Larry Gross (Prozac Nation), it's Aussie director John Curran's second film. Having read it six years earlier, Vancouver producer Harvey Kahn and his company, Front Street Films, scrambled to identify the rights and resurrect the project, to be shot in the spring of 2003. Just getting the four lead actors together was nothing short of a miracle, but amazingly, they all had a small window of availability in April. Kahn told his investors, "This is the package we have. I don't have the time to fully finance, to put all the other pieces together. We either write the cheque to fully finance this thing or it will go away." Luckily, they went for it. Last January, Kahn took the film to Sundance, where it was a huge hit, prompting a bidding war. It was finally picked up by the newly formed Warner Independent Pictures.

Lynne McNamara, Vancouver Sun, August 18


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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We Don't Live Here Anymore can be seen in two ways:

1) It's a hard-hitting, raw, Wages-of-Sin tale, powerfully acted by great actors that should show the audience in gory detail that if you're married and have kids, it's a really bad idea to sleep around with your best friend's spouse.

or

2) It's a shrill, tedious, two-hour marathon of one married couple putting the kids to bed and then yelling themselves hoarse, accusing each other, throwing things at each other, hurling obscenities at each other, and then going to bed... and sometimes making passionate love afterward. In the morning, they go their separate ways, wonder about what the other is doing, and then they proceed to go have another secret rendezvous with the person they "really love."

Truth is, it's both. Frankly, I think it should have stayed a book, because aside from convincing performances, there's not much going on here besides a Script adapted from a Book. The visuals in the film do nothing to contribute to the story. It's all their in their words to each other... and there are too many words, besides. Too many snippy, frivolous, snarling, I-hate-you-you-sunnava**** tiffs. Too many infidelity-movie routines. There is one interesting motif about how you either believe we came from apes or you believe we came from Adam and Eve, and I'll bet that worked well in the book, but here, when it comes up, there's a big sign on the screen that says "IMPORTANT METAPHORS! PAY ATTENTION!", and a few folks in the audience actually chuckled at how pretentious it was.

Too bad. Waste of a great cast. In fact, it's the most demanding role for Ruffalo yet, and he shows he can carry it just fine. Krause, on the other hand, is miscast. He's more interesting in any episode of SportsNight or Six Feet Under than here.

HOWEVER,

I did have a grand time meeting Lone Tomato, watching the film, and chatting about movies, art, faith, life, Seattle, Hawaii, and rock-and-roll. He's a generous, sincere dude in a bright yellow shirt, and he has great taste in literature. He also has great taste in movies... or, well, at least he agreed with me on this one pretty much. cool.gif

Okay, who on this board do I get to meet NEXT? You're all so cool, it's just a privilege and a joy every time I meet one of you!


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I did have a grand time meeting Lone Tomato, watching the film, and chatting about movies, art, faith, life, Seattle, Hawaii, and rock-and-roll. He's a generous, sincere dude in a bright yellow shirt, and he has great taste in literature. He also has great taste in movies... or, well, at least he agreed with me on this one pretty much.  cool.gif

Aw, shucks Jeffrey. Right back at ya! You have no idea how encouraging hanging out with you was for me. Same goes for meeting Peter Chattaway (thanks for the church history lesson!)

I thought the acting was amazing, particularly Ruffalo. And Naomi Watts...any movie she's in automatically gets one thumb up from me (because of her acting? well, yeah that too). I want to see this movie again before writing too much about it because I suspect there's something deeper there than just the two versions Jeffrey laid out. I think Ruffalo's character is the key to figuring out what this movie is about because all of the flashbacks and voice-overs are his. Even though all four characters are given nearly equal screen time, I think we're supposed to "see" the movie through Ruffalo's character.

If it weren't for this extra bit of attention to one of the characters, then the movie would fall into one or both of Jeffrey's categories because we would just be like neighbors listening in/watching what's going on nextdoor. But I think the movie is nudging us to pay closer attention to Ruffalo. In addition, if there is a kind of heirarchy to the characters, then Watts would be the next most important character (yeah, awful sentence but I just landed back in Hawaii so I get extra grace). She and Rufalo are the only two characters who really change in this movie. The other two, Dern and Krause, leave the film pretty much the same way we found them in the beginning.

Oh, and I completely agree with Jeffrey about Krause. He was the least interesting and the most vile of the four...which is kind of interesting because usually the most vile character is the most intersting one.

I don't know why, but I wonder what Neil LaBute would have done with this cast/script. (sorry, irrelevant, disposable, random thought...blame it on the recycled jet air)

No, it's not a happy film but I think it's worth watching for the acting alone.

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LoneTomato wrote:

: Same goes for meeting Peter Chattaway (thanks for the church history lesson!)

Oy, if my parents could hear you say that (they always wanted me to become a history professor...). And thanks for the nuts! It's taking all my willpower to savour them over the course of a week or two as opposed to finishing them all in a couple days!


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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When one lover isn't enough

Marriage sucks. Adultery is the only way to survive it -- but that sucks worse. That's the message of the recently released feature film We Don't Live Here Anymore, in which Mark Ruffalo, Naomi Watts, Peter Krause and Laura Dern play college professor/stay-at-home-wife couples that deal with their marital tensions, lusts and frustrations by sliding into barely-masked seedy infidelity. "I wonder how we'll get caught?" muses Watts' character, who then has torrid sex with her husband's best friend in the living room while her spouse and kids sleep upstairs. Both couples proceed to whine, complain and agonize over their infidelities. The movie presents monogamy as chafing and unsatisfying -- and adultery as carnally fulfilling but ultimately destructive. But are those the only choices couples today have -- boring fidelity or corrosive cheating? Hardly. A whole range of relationship options where couples get to have their cake and eat it too -- very happily, thanks -- are moving into the mainstream, especially here in open-minded Vancouver. . . .

Dorothy Bartoszewski, Vancouver Sun, September 4


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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You know, I'm still tring to figure out what's wrong with this picture. It seems so close to being great but falls short. I think a few more drafts or perhaps different editing could have saved it.

I think the main problem is in the ending. The movie builds up all this tension between the four people but ends just as it's beginning to release all that potential energy - to use an analogy from excercise, it fails to warm down.

spoilers1.gif

I think about that scene near the end where Jack (Ruffalo) takes his kids on a bicycle ride and the end up by the river. The sequence is edited such that it seems like he's thinking about throwing them in the river but once back at the house through clues in the background noise we know that he didn't. And then he tells Terry (Dern) that he wants to try and make the marriage work. Terry, naturally, believes that he just wants to stay because of the kids but Jack makes it clear that it's not just that. Well, if it's not the kids then what? I mean the night before he rips her to pieces by saying "I love Edith!" So if it wasn't the kids then what?

And then there's the way the movie leaves Edith. She's in the car and we hear the sound of a train in the background and her face starts to light up. 1+1=she's killing herself by placing her car on the tracks. But because of the way the movie just misled us with Jack and his kids by the river, what are we to make of this? Oh, and then there's her reaction to Hank cheating on her. She knows that he doesn't love her and she has no problem sleeping with Jack and she already knew Hank was checking out Terry...

Seems like the more I think about this movie the less I like it. Maybe there's some epiphany I'm missing but as of yet I'm still waiting for the apple to fall.

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Finally saw this last night. Was surprised at how much humour there was -- or at least, at how often the audience laughed (including myself). There is a certain absurdity to the Ruffalo character's situation in particular, a certain sense of damn-that-woman's-crazy that is kinda funny, even though there are lots of other, more tragic elements here.

Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:

: There is one interesting motif about how you either believe we came from apes or

: you believe we came from Adam and Eve, and I'll bet that worked well in the

: book, but here, when it comes up, there's a big sign on the screen that says

: "IMPORTANT METAPHORS! PAY ATTENTION!", and a few folks in the audience

: actually chuckled at how pretentious it was.

I don't recall any chuckling at that one, but yeah, it WAS one of those things that just sort of screamed "IMPORTANT POINT BEING MADE HERE!" when the rest of the film seemed more subtle or understated or naturalistic or something to that effect.

LoneTomato wrote:

: I think Ruffalo's character is the key to figuring out what this movie is about

: because all of the flashbacks and voice-overs are his.

Definitely.

: Oh, and I completely agree with Jeffrey about Krause. He was the least

: interesting and the most vile of the four...which is kind of interesting because

: usually the most vile character is the most intersting one.

Definitely an interesting point.

: I don't know why, but I wonder what Neil LaBute would have done with this

: cast/script.

Heh -- Krause, who I have never seen before in anything else, reminded me of LaBute regular Aaron Eckhart at a few points!

: I think the main problem is in the ending. The movie builds up all this tension

: between the four people but ends just as it's beginning to release all that potential

: energy - to use an analogy from excercise, it fails to warm down.

[ nod ]

SPOILERS

: I think about that scene near the end where Jack (Ruffalo) takes his kids on a

: bicycle ride and the end up by the river. The sequence is edited such that it

: seems like he's thinking about throwing them in the river but once back at the

: house through clues in the background noise we know that he didn't.

Yeah, what was WITH that scene, anyway? Would anyone here have "bought" the scene if he HAD thrown his kids into the river? Did that seem remotely plausible for him? I certainly believe the CHARACTER acted plausibly there, but the DIRECTOR was trying to suggest that something else might be happening, and the something else in question seemed very, very implausible to me.

: And then he tells Terry (Dern) that he wants to try and make the marriage work.

: Terry, naturally, believes that he just wants to stay because of the kids but Jack

: makes it clear that it's not just that. Well, if it's not the kids then what? I mean the

: night before he rips her to pieces by saying "I love Edith!" So if it wasn't the kids

: then what?

Maybe he has a deeper belief in the "institution" of marriage than he expected -- maybe he is not staying with Terry because he loves her more than Edith (heck, perhaps he doesn't "love" her at all, in the emotional sense of the word), but because he just doesn't want to break up the marriage. But yeah, he never does say WHAT he's staying for, does he.

: And then there's the way the movie leaves Edith. She's in the car and we hear the

: sound of a train in the background and her face starts to light up. 1+1=she's

: killing herself by placing her car on the tracks. But because of the way the movie

: just misled us with Jack and his kids by the river, what are we to make of this?

Yeah, exactly. I wonder how the original short stories handle these things (or even if they do...).


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I agree that the movie was missing something, but I enjoyed the performances and generally the film overall.

I don't think it's trying to tell us adultery is bad/good, etc. Rather just showing that there is happiness and unhappiness to be found no matter what. Marriage CAN be boring at times, it can be great at other times. Sometimes all the little things get in there and suck the life out of life literally -- chores, kids, shopping, jobs, things, etc. The world can be a numbing place and if you don't make the effort to keep the light inside lit, it can grow dim.

It made me think about Ecclesiastes a little ... sometimes it all seems pointless aside from God and the spirit that accompanies that. I thought it was an honest film. There were real moments ... relationship politics that are all too common. People don't always cheat b/c of boredom or lust ... sometimes there's no explanation. No, not everyone cheats, but it does happen QUITE often.

As far as why he wants to stay in the marriage? Sometimes people don't have some cliche perfect answer--they just want to. Maybe they've realized their wrongs, thought about the kids, thought about the life they've built so far, and it just feels right no matter what came before.

I liked the film for a lot of the honesty it carried and thought Ruffalo and Watts were especially good. I really like Watts in most every role, but don't generally care for Ruffalo (save You Can Count On Me).

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Huh, I guess this film just opened in England, if Mark Steyn's reviewing it now?

We Don

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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It's the inverse to The Ice Storm.

The Ice Storm is a film applying 90s sensibilities to 70s characters, while We Don't Live Here Anymore is a film applying 70s sensibilities to 90s characters. It's a tough trick to pull off, and I think the guy from Taiwan got it right.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Watched this last night. Been a long time since I've watched a film that I really dislike. Often they just don't work for me, but this was different. 4 people, none of whom I could care about. Victims and victimizers just kind of blurred together. No redemption. No hope. Not much of anything except a load of angst.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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