The Face Of Love: Review

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Annette Bening (‘Ann’) and Ed Harris (‘Tom and Garrett’) act in the Face of Love about a widow who lost her husband 5 years before and then sees a man who’s a doppelgänger of her late husband and starts a relationship with him.

It’s an interesting premise, what would you do if you had the chance to fall in love with someone who looked exactly like you late husband – would you? It has echoes of Vertigo by Hitchcock especially the obsessiveness in which Ann hunts down Tom who looks exactly like her late husband Garrett.

The film is directed by Arie Posin and co-written with Matthew McDuffie. Arie Posin said in interviews that the idea for this film came from his mother who one day thought she saw the doppelgänger of her late husband then told it as a rather amusing anecdote and left it at that. However McDuffie and Posin take that anecdote and turn into a Hitchcock style thriller.

There is a lot to like about this film: the actors for a start Annette Bening and Ed Harris, especially given that he plays both the part of Garrett and Tom, do an incredible job. The opening scenes where she is walking around the house the audience realise that not only did her husband Garrett die five years ago but so did she and now she is just existing. The scene where she cuts her hand on a broken wine glass just to see the blood pour from it to confirm that she is living is breathtakingly simple but yet so powerful in conveying grief and what it’s like for the person left behind.

However, the question is does the premise of this film work and whilst the acting is superb, and setting aside the rather languid pace, the answer is no. Yes, the idea of meeting someone who bears a striking a resemblance to a loved one that gives you the chance to love again and maybe have a cathartic release of the internalised grief is definitely interesting, but the last 20 minutes of the film turned into melodrama rather than building up to what could have been an incredible Hitchcock worthy ending.

I should add that it was excellent casting having Robin Williams in this film. He is much underrated as a straight non comedic actor. His role made me think why don’t we see more of him in these straight roles, I may have to dig out my copy of the 2002 film Insomnia in which he plays opposite Al Pacino, in which he also excellent.

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