New Favorite: Conversations with Other Women

So I’m adding a new “section,” as it were.  New discoveries that are so amazing that they are immediate favorites, automatically best friends forever.  And to start us off on this exciting venture into the unknown is a wonderful wonderful movie that I watched…hmmm…sometime in the last month.  I mean, you know I haven’t been the greatest about updating this here virtual whatnot.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I strongly encourage you to watch: Conversations with Other Women, starring Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhart, and here are 10 Reasons Why:

#1, 2 & 3 – The Cinematography/Split Screen

This movie is shot beautifully.  The film follows two people, who obviously have a past of some sort, as they see each other for the first time in a long time at a wedding, and the entire thing is presented in a split screen.  So many things to love.  For much of the movie, this means that each side is focused on the point of view of one of the two characters,  so you really see each one’s reactions to everything.  Not just one viewpoint.  You can tell that there were 2 cameras on them at the same time for a lot of filming because you can see reactions and little tiny mannerisms, as well as background stuff, happen at exactly the same moment in both frames.  Things that in my opinion you couldn’t recreate and do exactly the same twice separately from different angles.  This seemingly more singlular filming actually makes it feel more like a play to me.  It’s full of longer shots that let them just be in the moment together and react to each other and not have to worry about what I think is called “coverage”.  Maybe I’m wrong about the word I mean, but the technique lets the characters breathe.  And that’s another thing that makes it like a play – the huge emphasis and exploration of character and one very specific, intimate relationship.  That’s all it is, a one-night examination of the relationship between these two people.  And it takes the whole movie for you to understand it fully.  Okay, maybe #1 should be that the movie is like a play, but it does obviously utilize movie-only techniques to huge advantage – you couldn’t tell this story this way without the split screen and it’s many uses…

And it is just used so brilliantly!

a. It’s really fun as an audience member (or “viewer,” if you will, but I’d rather go with the collective here) to spot things move from one frame into the other (i.e. extras walking past).

b. And you know it’s going to be so extra important when one of them passes from their own frame into the other’s.  And you’re just waiting for it…and it’s so satisfying.

c. The split screen also shows backstory, moments or memories from the characters pasts, either as they talk about them or to add to what we’re seeing in the present.

d.  It even begin to break the rules and let time split a little and show alternate endings to a moment, alternate reactions, in the split side.  Whether it’s just something a character is wishing had happened or a true alternate reality they never fully explain.  It’s just really fucking cool.  Kind of a double take moment.

And all of these other uses begin coming in right when you think that a split screen might become boring if each side is just focused on following one of the two main characters around.  That’s not it at all, and just when it might get old, it begins to be utilized in all of these other unique ways to help illustrate these 2 people.

It also facilitates…

#4. The Coolest Sex Scene I Have Ever Seen

Think about it…SPLIT SCREEN

One word to fuel your musings – kaleidoscope. 🙂

#5, 6, & 7 – Helena Bonham Carter

As if I needed more reasons to love this woman (ummm Harry Potter, anyone?) she is just…well, every word I can think of right now sounds like a smarmy critic word that would be reprinted on a poster and that I would never believe they really could have meant.  “Luminous.”  “Virtuostic.”  “Brilliant.”  C’mon, really?

YES.  All I know is I couldn’t take my eyes off her.  Aaron Eckhart deserves major props and he held up his end very well; I wouldn’t love the movie if I only loved half of it.  But she’s the one I couldn’t stop thinking about afterwards.  Fuckin’ awesome.

#8 – The writing

Oh the words, glorious words!  With it’s unique filming style to help examine these characters, the writing holds up its end in creating them and letting them play out.  It just does such a lovely job of letting these characters show us who they are and what they mean to each other…at their own pace…nothing forced.  Revelations are a joy, not too obvious, a sweet surprise, and they come so naturally and sort of slowly. 

I have discovered that I really like to use the word “heavy-handed” in reviewing things, in trying to describe what I didn’t like about them, and you’ll see it all over the Hate portion of this blog.  This was how to NOT be heavy-handed.  Just lovely.  Quiet and creeping up on you and lovely.  And fucking cool to watch too.

#9 – No Easy Outs

The story stays true to the examination and the fact that these are real people with real problems that won’t necessarily work out perfectly for them or the way that you want them to.  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such loving discord.  Such a loving not-happy ending.  You’ll see.

#10 – And all these things added up just makes me say “mmmmm.”  That = SATISFYING

Worthy of the “New Favorite” mantle, no?  I leave it up to you as to whether you’re adding it to your Netflix Queue (how the hell do you spell that word?) right now as you read this – side note: it is an option in Netflix Watch Instantly if after this glowing review you just can’t wait.  I know I’m not saying much about the plot, but I don’t want to take any of the enjoyment away from you.  All I know is I’m in love.

 

I hadn’t noticed before, but even the poster is split, if you look closely!

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3 Comments

Filed under Movies, New Favorite, Theatre

3 responses to “New Favorite: Conversations with Other Women

  1. Rusty

    Bought it… loved it… thank you! 🙂

  2. There are some great emotionally true and rich moments that actually work, but the camera-work almost feels like too much of a gimmick, and sometimes takes away from the story as well as the great performances from these two. Good review, check out mine when you can!

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