Conversations with Other Women Hans Canosa

Weddings 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 sister’s 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 (she’s married, he has a much younger girlfriend) and working back to their pasts, which begin to entwine as they become more and more intimate.

Eckhart’s sly, manipulative 38-year-old isn’t dissimilar to many characters he’s worked in the past; his casting once again confirms that he’s 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 aren’t they ’80s chic?

Regardless, why Conversations with Other Women will get people talking isn’t so much the attraction of this dynamic pairing but how Canosa shoots them. Working with a split-screen for the film’s entirety (well, the final shot merges for a reason), the director pushes the importance of each character’s expression, which isn’t always vital. In fact, it’s difficult to determine what effect Canosa was looking to achieve; though it’s surely something different to behold, it’s 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, it’s an interesting way to portray this fling but it’s the sharp dialogue and fine acting that makes it more than a one trick pony. (TVA)