25 October 2010 | BERSERKERpoetry
"I'm talking about me now."
"When Love Is Not Enough" is a film of a very specific style. That sort of style most commonly seen in films which consider the most effective way to depict a period drama is in mimicking the film-making style of said period. If you can swallow all the tear-jerking music and glossy cinematography, you will certainly appreciate the story better. But I found myself aching for a little bit more grittiness. Even much older alcoholic dramas such as "The Lost Weekend" or "Days of Wine and Roses" had a degree of emotional intensity not quite present here. Then again, this is a TV movie, and similar expectations are not necessarily in play.
Winona Ryder and Barry Pepper are two of my favorite actors. They don't disappoint here. Pepper (as Bill Wilson) is appropriately pathetic for the better half of the film, believably drunk and unhinged. Ryder (as Bill's wife, Lois) is given somewhat less to work with. Some of her dialogue during the more intense arguments is so wordy and roundabout that she seems tied between losing her breath and keeping a straight face. Both of which tend to get in the way of projecting emotion.
It's a good enough film. The story takes you through the events of Bill and Lois' married life, always without making you feel like it's arbitrary or scripted out. The unfortunate side is how John Kent Harrison doesn't offer anything at all outstanding with his direction. The look is flat, clean, ordinary. He sometimes uses off-kilter angles in the composition, which is always distracting and immediately makes one think of 1960s television shows. Harrison prevents the actors from pushing further than expected, and gives nothing but limitations to the production.
In the end, this is probably worth watching. The actors give enough guts and passion to make it worth your time. It's nothing to subvert even the lowest of expectations, but you get the sense that everyone tried their best. And that's commendable, even when their best is not enough.