Published Mar 21, 2008Ira Sachss stolid relationship drama marks a step back in his career compared to the lovely Forty Shades of Blue, its a little too obvious and lacking in shading. Still, its not bad, and you wont be too put out if you come across it one night on cable.
Its the late 40s, and solid husband/provider Chris Cooper has come to the conclusion that hed rather be with mistress Rachel McAdams than wife Patricia Clarkson. So our man comes up with the only humane solution to his wifes imminent betrayal: he will kill his spouse so as to spare her loneliness and embarrassment. Of course, that isnt the only ridiculous assumption he comes up with. As it turns out, his wife is far less attached to him than one might assume, and his friend and co-worker Pierce Brosnan has secret designs on the mistress, making Coopers self-centred reading of the situation seem faintly presumptive.
People do not know other people in this movie, and people are hiding plenty, which might have made for a more interesting experience were the direction not determined to take things at face value. Instead of a mise-en-scène that heightens the sense of deception and misunderstanding, the film blandly reiterates the period decor and 40 shades of brown in the production design.
But if the film doesnt set the world on fire as craft it still gently makes its case for making peace with the imperfection of relationships and understands that life not turning out as planned isnt the end of the world. Given the histrionics with which such situations are normally treated, the quiet approach of Married Life is refreshing enough to make up for its visual weaknesses. (Equinox)