5 to 7 Nov 10, 2020 13:14:20 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Nov 10, 2020 13:14:20 GMT -5
5 to 7 (2015)
Directed by: Victor Levin
Directed by: Victor Levin
Bérénice Marlohe and Anton Yelchin.
"Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self." - Jean-Luc Godard
You'll know within the first 20 minutes of Victor Levin's sweetly sentimental 5 to 7 if you're going to enjoy it or not. Some films are the exact opposite insofar that it doesn't dawn on you until the third act that what you're watching is a special picture. With this one, however, you'll know if this romance cast against an idyllic portrait of a fabled New York City that would make you think the people there give a modicum of a damn about the person they're walking beside on the street is for you. Turns out, I can be a sucker for these flicks.
A film as elegant as the radiant Bérénice Marlohe, 5 to 7 might indeed be every heterosexual male writer's fantasy, but as I like to say, this time in regards to myself, "if the shoe fits." Levin's comedy-drama is a fairytale, ultimately, but a lovingly written one. Even if you can't relate to the story, he flexes some impressive filmmaking and gorgeously framed visuals sure to delight those privy to photography. If you would've told me this was a Woody Allen movie, I probably would've believed you.
We follow...get this...a struggling 24-year-old writer named Brian Bloom (Anton Yelchin), whose midtown Manhattan apartment walls are lined with rejection letters from various magazines. Brian subscribes to the old saying about New York that "you're always 20 feet away from someone you know or someone you’re meant to know." This is perhaps why he decides to strike up a conversation with an alluring French woman named Arielle (Marlohe) one evening while she's smoking outside of a restaurant. He sees his "in" by their mutual desire to indulge in a cigarette but also the fact that she is sans rock on her finger. After several platonic outings for coffee and dinner, Arielle —nine years Brian's senior — reveals not only is she married to a diplomat named Valéry (Lambert Wilson), but she also has two children.
Arielle is in fact in an open relationship, and is permitted to enjoy casual rendezvouses between the hours of 5 and 7 p.m. — with no wiggle-room. Valéry, too, is shacking up with a young gal named Jane (Olivia Thirlby), who soon becomes Brian's go-to editor upon meeting Valéry and realizing he couldn't be happier that his wife has found a spry young man with whom to sleep during her daily recess.
The tricky dance at hand is easy to see, but not so one-dimensional. Brian falls deeply in love with Arielle, but so does Arielle. That doesn't mean she is ready to walk away from the cozy life, intellectual husband, and beautiful children, however. Brian is initially dumbfounded to learn that Arielle's relationship has an infidelity clause for lack of a better term, but even he defies societal mores by going along with it.
The attraction to Arielle on Brian's part is more than understandable, but expected. While not necessarily accomplished, he's persistent with his dreams of becoming a successful writer. Finally living alone, with his own apartment, he is free to make his own schedule, and it's a delight in his mind to find a woman who is put together and fiercely independent. She doesn't need anyone's reassurance that what she's doing with her life is right. She's far beyond that stage of twentysomething ennui. Brian's insecurities and foibles tickle her, as his kindred sense of the world reminds her that he is wise beyond his years. The chemistry between Yelchin and Marlohe is plentiful and it's a strong foundation on which to build the film.
Levin and cinematographer Arnaud Potier work together to capture a New York City that's majestic and fantastical, ala Manhattan. Their dreamy visuals that highlight the rainy afternoons and the overcast evenings are germane to the romance at play. Fun supporting characters, such as Brian's parents — coyly played by Frank Langella and Glenn Close — turn up as if to offer some bitter perspective for the characters yet careful not to impede on their fledgling union as if to derail it and bring them back into reality. Occasionally, it's nice to suspend disbelief for a film like this because inviting too much in would seriously dampen the fun while it lasts, especially when the performances are this amusing to watch.
A motif in the film is its inclusion of the many placards that sit largely unnoticed on many benches sprawled across Central Park. The inscriptions often try their best to encapsulate a full life in a pithy sentence or two, perhaps capping off a 50 year marriage with a statement like "one day at a time" or present a dedication to a person in so many words. These little musings are what 5 to 7 is predicated on; they're ultimately a little one-dimensional but somehow they cut through that for a flicker of a moment and prove to be something endearing.
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Bérénice Marlohe, Lambert Wilson, Frank Langella, Glenn Close, and Olviia Thirlby. Directed by: Victor Levin.