Title – The Face of Love (2013)
Director – Arie Posin (The Chumscrubber)
Cast – Annette Bening, Ed Harris, Robin Williams, Jess Weixler, Amy Brenneman
Plot – After Nikki (Bening) losses her husband Garret (Harris) to an accident, she grieves his loss for 5 years until by chance she runs into Tom (also Harris) a man that shares a strikingly similar resemblance to her late husband. A relationship ensues, a very very awkward one.
“I could take a bath in the way you look at me”
Review by Eddie on 1/12/2014
As a huge fan of director Arie Posin’s misunderstood and underrated look at suburbia in his 2005 debut film The Chumscrubber, it was with great anticipation I awaited his long gestating follow up which turned out to be this slice of middle aged romance The Face of Love (or the Look of Love in some countries). The cast looked good, the story seemed intriguing and even though the initial reaction to this film was lukewarm at best I still held out hope that the promise Posin showed on debut would come to the forefront, sadly this was not to be the case.
The Face of Love is a hapless film, a groan inducing amateurishly written tale of love and loss that suffers the rare feat of growing worse and worse as the dire dialogue and story line unfolds one after the other. It’s actually quiet embarrassing to sit back and witness the silly story take full effect and the actors of such experienced calibre like Annette Benning, Ed Harris and even the late Robin Williams (in a turn obviously taken during his financial troubles) struggle to make the film work. Benning in particular looks utterly lost in her role as grieving widow Nikki, she’s given most of the films worst lines and scenes but to say even the reliable Ed Harris succeeds would be a lie as the actor also gets lost further and further into a character that was never going to work. With a lack of solid direction, badly directed acting turns and a terrible script it’s like Posin has taken a step back in all areas from The Chumscrubber.
The Chumscrubber was often inventive, satirically smart and featured an abundance of neat acting turns (bar the always horrible Camilla Belle) which all fail to eventuate here. Posin was clearly passionate about his follow up project, reading about the film it’s easy to see that it was not an easy sell and at the heart of proceedings there is an undeniably intriguing story to tell but in the final product there is no real heart and soul, it’s a cold picture where it should have been full of human emotion and care. We never wholeheartedly feel the love Nikki feels for Garret and his doppelganger Tom and romantic moments between the lovers always feels forced and eerily creepy. It’s almost like the film turned into a voyeuristic nightmare where we should have been engaged in an emotionally charged love.
Without question one of the year’s worst films and a major disappointment for those like me that thought Posin was a talent to watch. Face of Love is an embarrassment for all those involved and a showcase for how not to produce a potentially effective screen story. Hard to watch for all the wrong reasons, Face of Love neither inspires, affects nor intrigues, yet does make you wish the horrors on screen would stop for the love of all things decent!
Half a desperate neighbour out of 5