This film was introduced by the exiting director of the EIFF, Shane Danielson, and he heaped much praise on it.
I was already interested in the film as it featured Ian Holm and the stunning Famke Janssen, who happens to be a very strong actress, it's just a shame that she doesn't seem to get too many meaty character based roles.
Happily I wasn't disappointed by Janssen, Holm or the film.
It's about a man called Jake Singer, played by Chris Eigeman, whose life just seems to be passing him by, as are his relationships. To try and remedy that he's seeing one of the strangest psychoanalysts on the planet, Doctor Morales, played by Holm. Then he meets a beautiful widow, Allegra Marshall played by Janssen, and the relationship starts to grow.
It's a pretty typical tale on the face of it, if you don't consider the utterly bizarre Dr. Morales, but as you get deeper into the story you'll find that you start to identify with the lead, and slowly get pulled in by these characters. Although the characters are similar to other romantic stories, what's interesting is they aren't stereotypical, they are kept fresh and alive with the superb script.
That script and especially the dialogue is incredibly well written, it's sharp, witty and very funny. There's a natural flow to it and a strong sense of reality in the characters reactions to situations. This is backed up by some great acting from Holm who seems to be having so much fun with his incredibly quirky character and steals the best lines throughout. Janssen also gives a natural performance and delivers her lines with perfection. Oh, if I wasn't in love already. She really is an amazing actress, and this role gives her the chance to show it off well, it's such a shame that she doesn't get strong character roles such as this more often, because she suits them so well. She can seem so fragile at one moment and then so strong another.
There's a fantastic line that Holm delivers at one point that made me smirk with acknowledgement, and this one is for all the Janssen fans, he says that Singer is treating her like a rare and fragile bird, when in fact she was actually a rising phoenix. I don't know if that was meant, but it was a nice nod.
That's what is so great about this film, the characters and their dialogue, and that's something that's so surprising and refreshing with the current crop of films coming from Hollywood.
The character development for both Singer and Marshall was held really well, and the story moved along at a refreshing pace, both managing to stave off standard romantic comedy fare and keeping the focus on the acting, scripting and dialogue.
It was also very well directed, and as a complete package the film really brought out the warmth and love in the story. This is where typical romantic films so often fall short or go to far, but here the filmmakers have it spot on.
The music was something else that was noticeable about this movie, again it was slightly different from all the other same genre films out there, it was off beat with the film. For example an incredibly sad and moving moment had a song playing over the top that was slightly bouncy and had a faster tempo than you would be used to. It's almost at odds with the scene, but it works really well.