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A French romantic drama that doesn't quite work
5 X 2 (DVD)
Member Name: cerys82
5 X 2 (DVD)
Advantages: well acted, good format
Disadvantages: not engaging at all
5 x 2 is a French film that was released in 2004 and directed by Francois Ozon. Unsurprisingly it has English subtitles.
The film was highly acclaimed on its release and is notable mainly for its unusual format. It charts the story of a couple( Valerie and Gilles) (the 2 of the title) backwards from their divorce to the first time the sparks flew between them, through a number of chapters (the 5 of the title).
It would not really give anything away to say what those chapters are :
Chapter 1 - the signing of their divorce papers and subsequent meeting
Chapter 2 - Gilles' brother and his partner come to visit
Chapter 3 - the day of the birth of their child
Chapter 4 - the wedding day
Chapter 5 - the very beginning of their relationship
I have thought about this film a lot since I have watched it but still have a number of difficulties with it.
Ultimately, on the good side it is well acted and shot. the dialogue is realistic and I like the way that each ensuing chapter challenges your view of the characters. Most commendably, the reverse format does not feel at all contrived and works well. However, I could not help but feel that the film had a massive void within it. I didn't feel any real engagement with any of the characters, and by that I do not meant that I purely did not like them - its just that I did not really feel that I was given the opportunity to get under the surface and find out anything about them and the motivation for their actions.
There is a theme running throughout the film of the possibility or impossibility of monogamy and fidelity which is explored to quite an extent, but this alone does not make a well rounded story. In essence there is a feeling of distinct stageyness.
I really enjoyed Ozon's film 'Swimming Pool' but I do feel that he really missed a trick with this one. The format leaves a lot of scope for exploring fundamental gender related differences within a relationship or just something between the couple that even explains why they are together in the first place, because as I saw it there really was not one.
I have seen various places where it has been summarised as a dissection of a relationship, but I think that that is far too generous and deceptive as to how sparse it is. In its favour, this sparcity means that it never descends into melodrama or sentimentality; however, I believe that there can be a balance that means that the viewer is not left disengaged and cold.
Summary: A disappointment