XX/XY Austin Chick
Published Jul 01, 2003XX/XY is a small indie film that examines the relationships of its three leads, Coles (Mark Ruffalo), Sam (Maya Stange), and Thea (Kathleen Robertson), at two very different times in their lives. The first half takes place in their college days in the early '90s, characterised by grunge rock chic and self-destructive behaviour.
After an initial awkward threesome, Coles and Sam embark on a hurtful relationship while Thea spirals out of control. All of them punctuate their annoying and cruel actions with the spouting of shallow platitudes about the nature of relationships. Things inevitably end badly, at which point the film flashes forward ten years to show Coles, his filmmaking aspirations sold out to a lame career in advertising, settled in a comfortable long-term relationship with Claire (Petra Wright).
Coles's life is shaken up when Sam reappears in New York after leaving her fiancé in London and they begin hanging out again. A now happily married and together Thea becomes the voice of reason for both of them. Although the actors are all quite good, their unremittingly un-likeable characters make the first half of the movie pretty hard to stomach.
However, the latter half offers some respite, as the have gained at least some perspective on their misspent youth. Surprisingly, the most interesting character turns out to be Claire, whose awareness and handling of Coles's perpetual selfishness is the film's strongest feature. (Alliance Atlantis)