Published Aug 01, 2006Weddings are breeding grounds for drunken one-night stands, but first-time director Hans Canosa invests a lot more into his debut, establishing a romance that becomes increasingly intriguing as time goes by.
Aaron Eckhart plays a brother at his sisters wedding who takes an interest in one of the bridesmaids (Helena Bonham Carter). Striking up a conversation with her, each frame reveals something new about the two of them, starting with their present situations (shes married, he has a much younger girlfriend) and working back to their pasts, which begin to entwine as they become more and more intimate.
Eckharts sly, manipulative 38-year-old isnt dissimilar to many characters hes worked in the past; his casting once again confirms that hes born for this type of role. Carter, as well, plays a familiar sort: a passive, somewhat aloof woman who ignores her stable life back in England in order to feel something with this man. The chemistry between the couple is screen magic from the outset Canosa has found a match made in sordid heaven. As well, his use of an analogous younger couple gives the viewer even more to absorb in flashback-type sequences are they the same couple when they were 19? If so, why arent they 80s chic?
Regardless, why Conversations with Other Women will get people talking isnt so much the attraction of this dynamic pairing but how Canosa shoots them. Working with a split-screen for the films entirety (well, the final shot merges for a reason), the director pushes the importance of each characters expression, which isnt always vital. In fact, its difficult to determine what effect Canosa was looking to achieve; though its surely something different to behold, its only ever effective when the parallel couples are both onscreen to set up the contrast in age. The technique is also a difficult one to for the eyes to adjust to and could put some people off entirely.
Still, its an interesting way to portray this fling but its the sharp dialogue and fine acting that makes it more than a one trick pony. (TVA)