22 January 2002 | Simmomar
First impression was positive, now I'm not so sure
The first time I watched this movie, I think I was just captivated by the excellent performances. Viggo Mortenson, like William H. Macy and James Caviezel, is one of those whose roles are understated but so well executed and you anticipate their next work. Diane Lane is gorgeous, and I think that somehow is supposed to drive a pitiful feeling from us that a woman of so much beauty is shackled down to a normal existence. Liev Schreiber's role was the most successful of the principles. The real sympathy in this movie DOES go to him for spending the duration of it separated from his family, and his philandering wife, simply keeping his tv-repair job.
Rule #1 about this movie, don't see it with your significant other. The passionate scenes of a cheating spouse copulating with a free-spirited, self-centered vagrant under a waterfall will make both of you uncomfortable. The scene that bothered me most was the actual moon-landing, where while he's quarantined to the shop repairing TVs so everyone can watch the event she's making it with the blouse-man on the bus. As others have said in this forum, the main point at the end of the movie is that she was misunderstood by a caring husband, her needs weren't satisfied (we never mention his), and ulimately he'll have to forsake his matured take on life if he's ever going to have his wife back.
It was the equivalent of watching Dharma and Greg with explicit adultery, where once again the responsible spouse has to pick up the pieces and try to understand their act-before-thinking partner. This isn't a statement of gender specifics, I'm well aware that plenty of men are unfaithful and self-centered as well. I'm just tired of people in this country deciding we can be married and never compromise on anything. It simply won't work that way. Marriage is a give and take, and in order to function right we need movies that emphasize communication. A movie that tries to justify infidelity isn't going to enhance anyone. I love my wife dearly, and I don't need to see a movie like this one as a cautionary tale of what could be if her needs are left ungratified. See it if you like, but I could mention PLENTY more "chick flicks" which will leave you with a warm or sorrowful feeling at the end worth seeing, rather than an akward feeling that neither of you want to discuss.