30 October 2007 | ferbs54
Almost A Perfect 10
A film that suggests a cross between Bergmans's gut-wrenching "Scenes From a Marriage" (1973) and Stanley Donen's more lighthearted "Two For the Road" (1967), mixed in a bit with that backwards "Seinfeld" episode, "5X2" (2005) is a very fine adult drama from director Francois Ozon. As the title suggests, it is comprised of five short glimpses at the doomed relationship of a handsome professional couple, Marion (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) and Gilles (Stephane Freiss). As in "Two For the Road," we see unchronological snapshots of this couple's failing marriage, but unlike the '67 film, rather than being given scattershot scenes from various periods, here we proceed continuously backward in time: from the divorce settlement and its rather icky aftermath, backward to one of the couple's dinner parties, back still to the birth of their premature son, on to their wedding party (and a most unusual wedding night, to put it mildly), and all the way back to one of their first meetings. Our foreknowledge that the couple's marriage is doomed makes the cracks in Marion and Gilles' relationship stand out all the clearer. Consequently, the pretty, upbeat ending is rendered bittersweet at best, with our preglimpse of what their future holds. "5X2" has been finely put together and features sterling acting down to the smallest bit players. It was especially great for me seeing that grand old actor, Michael Lonsdale (who will always be Hugo Drax for us Bond fanatics), still acting at age 74, here playing Marion's father. My only complaint, really, concerning "5X2" is that it is a bit on the short and sketchy side; perhaps a few extra scenes would have enabled us to more fully understand the characters' motivations, particularly Gilles' (and especially his no-show at his son's birth). This, for me, is the only thing that prevents "5X2" from being a perfect 10.