In summary : a very clever film but mediocre from an entertainment perspective.
What I’d hoped for : From the misleading trailer I thought this was going to be a film about two people setting out to get revenge on one another which would end in a crescendo of disaster.
What I got: quite possibly one of the weirdest opening scenes I’ve ever witnessed. Confusion; one of those films where I kept having to press pause and get an explanation (thank goodness I watched it on DVD).
Immense frustration but in equal measure, admiration for the way it ended.
The storyline in a nutshell (without giving too much away): Amy Adams plays a somewhat miserable middle aged woman married to a failing business man. After reminiscing over her ex-husband he just-so-happens to send her a manuscript of his first novel. Susan (Adams) begins to read the book and this is where the confusion starts. The film flips between her present life, her memories and the story as she is reading it. There are moments where I had to check which ‘phase’ the film was in. Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) is her ex. Yet he is also the main character in the manuscript so you are left asking which parts of his book (if any) were fact or if it was fiction.
Again from the misleading trailer you think the book is going to outrage Susan and that she will seek revenge on Edward for attempting to publish it. But that’s not remotely what happens. Instead the book leaves Susan desperate to meet with Edward once again.
The best bits: the ending. Oh so very clever.
The fact that the whole film could mean so much.
The way that so little is said throughout the film yet so much is communicated.
Oh … and the site of Jake Gyllenhaal, obviously!
The fact that the whole film could have been utterly pointless; guy sends a fictional story to ex, the end.
The slow feel of the film.
Questions I was left with:
Was the novel a metaphor, was it based on his experiences with Susan or since Susan.
What if Susan didn’t have an abortion? Sure Walker (Armie Hammer) accompanied her to the hospital but is it possible that she pretended to get rid of her unborn baby and then quickly ‘fell pregnant’ by Walker? Making her daughter Edward’s daughter.
Was Susan’s husband really failing or had he just found somewhere else to splash the cash?
How the hell did it end?
Overall: I think this is going to be a Marmite movie.