Review: Awkward awakenings

A film about two passionate and sensual love affairs would usually be enough to stimulate even the slightest bit of sexual arousal, but it’s hard to be turned on by Anne Fontaine’s Adoration.

It’s an awkward and uncomfortable piece of cinema, with a storyline better suited to the French coast rather than Sydney, Australia.

Lil (Naomi Watts) and Roz (Robin Wright) are neighbours whose lifelong friendship is so constant and loyal that some locals suspect the two might be lesbians. They’re not.

The women spend all of their spare time together, mostly eating and swimming with their sons Ian (Xavier Samuel) and Tom (James Frecheville).

As strange as it is for two young men to spend so much time with their mothers, it’s only the beginning.

As the bonds between the four grow both mothers begin a sexual relationship with the other’s son. One born out of strong sexual desires, the other tit for tat.

“Despite a screenplay by Oscar winner Christopher Hampton, Adoration is an alluring story with some rather plain dialogue.”

When Lil and Roz find out about each other’s affairs they settle on continuing their relationships and both agree to secrecy from everyone, including Roz’s husband, Harold (Ben Mendelsohn). Yes, Tom’s father.

Despite a screenplay by Oscar winner Christopher Hampton, Adoration is an alluring story with some rather plain dialogue. While what’s happening between the four is injudicious, the audience is only given a handful of really intense moments, one which made the crowd gasp.

That’s not taking anything away from the four leads though, even the supporting cast. They’ve all proved themselves as class talents in the past, but here they’re not given any meat, just the bare bones.

Maybe there was a language barrier between the mostly Australian cast and their director, Anne Fontaine. This is the first English speaking film for the Luxemoburg native.

Adoration isn’t full of memorable scenes that will last with you forever, but it’s sure to evoke critical reactions among those who see it.

Adoration: 3/5
Directed by: Anne Fontaine
Starring: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel, James Frecheville, Ben Mendelsohn, Sophie Lowe
Review by: Matthew Eeles

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