An anatomy of a failed marriage told in reverse chronology starting with the finalization of the couples divorce & concluding literally as they walk off into the sunset after their 1st encounter. Studio: Image Entertainme... more »nt Release Date: 10/23/2007 Starring: Valeria Bruni-tedeschi Stephanie Friess Run time: 90 minutes Rating: R« less
Wow! VERY sexy movie! A definite R rating, but nothing hard core. A story of a marriage told in 5 scenes, played backwards. Starting with the divorce, it goes back to the signs of trouble beforehand, the pregnancy and delivery of the wife, the day of their marriage and, finally the way the two met. Stephane Freiss, while not a bad actor overall, is largely forgettable as the husband, but Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi is amazing! She is a fabulous actress who easily and naturally gives off subtle nuances. She is eminently watchable not only for her considerable physical beauty, which is well and freely displayed in this venue, but also, and more so, for her enormous talent. She is quite literally riveting! Your eyes will never leave her when she is on screen.
The story itself is well done and probably would not have worked nearly as well if the timeline had been presented in chronological order. The sets and scenery are very interesting and make me want to go to France real soon.
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(5 x 2) - (2 x 2) = 3***
Doctor Trance | MA, United States | 03/01/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I want to point out right away that I thought Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi is excellent in this film. After just watching her rather low key performance as a police inspector in Claude Chabrol's The Color of Lies, she shows a dynamic emotional range that I wouldn't have thought her capable. It may be her acting skills have really been finely tuned in the 6 years between films, or it could have just been the way her unemotional character was written for Chabrol's film. Either way, she makes this very dark film, enlightening.
The film portrays a 5 point timeline in the lives of one married couple just completing a divorce. The events are shown in reverse order: 1) the divorce, 2) nearing the end of their marriage, 3) the birth of their son, 4) their wedding night, and 5) when they first became attracted to each other. Breaking the film up into 5 segments actually seems to speed the film along, and breaks the monotony of what could otherwise have been just another talky, morality driven French film.
I think the reverse order is a creative way to tell the tale, however, you ought to make sure the two last chapters (or first chapters) are strong enough to carry the weight of the end of the film. Unfortunately, the first 3 events are what makes this film, and it sadly tails off with the last 2. They are suppose to be the more upbeat time of the relationship, and should be the most satisfying of the film, but we are left with one that is very contrived, and the other rather dull.
The opening divorce sequence is very moving, and opens the very dramatic first hour of the film. We quickly see how much of an a-hole Gilles (the husband) really is, and how seemingly sweet Marion is (that is, until the wedding night sequence). The next event is a time after their son looks to be about 6-years-old, and you can see the marriage isn't going very well. It features a scene with Gille's gay brother and his aloof younger boyfriend. You can see Marion beginning to break down at this point, and we do not seem very far away from what is to become in the opening sequence.
The birth of their son features Gilles being a butthole again, and deliberately not being present for the delivery. While it is not clear how strained the marriage is at this point, it features some poignant scenes with Marion alone in the hospital. At one point, she is in tears on her cell phone speaking to Gilles, who still hasn't come to see her, and asks him to bring some things from home. I think it's the most effective moment in the film.
That brings us to the last 2 moments, or the first 2 in their relationship. Up to this segment and right through to the end of the wedding ceremony, I felt this was playing out to be one superb film. Even in the darker tones of the first hour, I thought we were now getting into some juicy territory with the happier times in this couple's lives, and that this may play out to be one of the best French films I've seen in a long time. However, that all came crashing down with a preposterous turn of events on their wedding night. I won't give it away, but it features an offensively stereotypical, Marlboro smoking, American male character. Despite this rather cheap shot at portraying an American in a French film, it's not this character that disturbs me as much as how Tedeschi's character reacts in these scenes. There is nothing before or after this that would remotely lead anyone to believe that she would act this way. It is a very unfathomable scene, and literally crumbles the movie at this point.
On to the last scene, where the couple first begin an attraction. What we have is a boring sequence where Gilles is on vacation with his girlfriend and meets Marion, a brief work related aquaintance, and seems to fall for her. There are NO sparks in these scenes and we are left with what should have been the best part of the film, being the dullest.
There was a deleted scene called prologue, which featured a time just after they were married, and moving into a new home. I thought this was a great scene, and had it been included in the film, it would have been the brightest point, in this otherwise dreary relationship. Maybe Ozon didn't want to name it 6x2! I would have taken that sequence over the wedding night one or their first meeting.
A brilliant film for the first hour, but a let down in the last 25 minutes. This could have been a strong film, with a failed relationship told in reverse order. Even with the gloomy tone of this troubled marriage, some stronger writing in the last key segments could have made this one impressive piece of cinema."
Joshua Miller | Coeur d'Alene,ID | 08/14/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""5x2" (Five Times Two) is written & directed by Francois Ozon, who previously made the English language film "Swimming Pool." That film was a noir-ish murder mystery with lots of sex. A lot of people didn't like it, a lot of people loved it. I fall into the second category. In 5x2 he takes a step back as far as entertainment, but takes a step forward in realism. This movie isn't very original, the story's been done before and the reversal thing's been done hundreds of times...But the dialogue and events happen pretty realistically, which helps. When we meet Gilles (Stephane Freiss) and Marion (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi), a married couple they are in front of a divorce lawyer about ready to sign their divorce papers. Once they do and they are officially divorced, they go to a motel room and have quick meaningless sex that neither one of them enjoys. After Gilles asks Marion if she'd like to try again (marriage, that is) she simply leaves. The film jumps backwards to a fairly awkward moment. Gilles and Marion are entertaining Gilles' gay brother and his boyfriend, where Gilles makes some fairly odd revelations. Skipping back again, we see the difficult birth of their son Nicolas; Their marriage; How they met and then, finally, them walking off into the sunset after their first encounter. I know it sounds as if I just ruined the ffilm for you, but rest assured. I just described every event in the film and didn't really tell you anything. This is a good foreign-film; This movie could take place in America just as easily and almost everything Ozon has in this film really happens to the most average couples (with the exception of Gilles' revelation. That only happens with certain ones). The film is no masterpiece and it's not "Brilliant!" like the cover says. It's an interesting character study for sure, the scenes of nudity are nice, and it keeps you fairly entertained. As I said, his previous effort Swimming Pool was much better...But this isn't a bad film. In a few words; Rent It First.
GRADE: B "
Scenes From A Marriage
Alex Udvary | chicago, il United States | 12/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Love and relationships are a strange thing. Whatever our views on the subject may be I think we can all agree, we all go into a relationship expecting the best. But, what if, through some magical power, we could tell how a relationship would turn out just by looking at that person? This is what I was thinking about as I watched this movie.
The film tells the story of a couple that eventually falls out of love and gets a divorce, but the film's gimmick is it is all told backwards. It is not told "Memento" backwards, where each scene is followed by what happened earlier instead the movie is divided in five chapters which are told in reverse order; their divorce, a party scene, the birth of their child, their wedding and finally the first time they met. This is how the movie gets its title. Five chapters about two people, get it?
The movie is directed by Francois Ozon and I think it may be his best film. Here Ozon is dealing with characters and situations I can relate to. It is not the brainteaser "Swimming Pool" was or the fun silly lark "8 Woman" was either. Aesthecially and intelluctally this movie is better than the rest. If anything his "Under the Sand" may be of the same quality.
The couple is played by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (Marion) and Stephane Freiss (Gilles) neither is an actor I can recall seeing in anything else but it doesn't matter. It helped me believe in these people even more. In the opening scenes we can sense a lot of intensity, a lot of disgust and resentment seems to be in the air. As we watch we wonder what could have lead to this? But as the movie goes on, I found, that these people never really belonged together in the first. Which leads me back to my original thought, what if we had a magical way of knowing how a relationship would end? Would we use it? Some would argue no, meeting someone new and experiencing where things go is half the excitment and also what makes us grow. That may be true but I wonder if Marion and Gilles would agree?
Bottom-line: Francois Ozon most effective film. It is a movie that is about more than its gimmick, it has a genuine deep story involving love and relationships."
Ozon Delivers a Stylish Backward Narration of a Couple's Pas
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 07/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The film opens with the audience witnessing the impersonal objectiveness of a lawyer guiding a couple through the final stage of a French divorce process. The divorce is to be finalized between Marion (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) and Gilles (Stéphane Freiss), the story's main characters. Neither Marion and Gilles show much emotion while they merely sit there responding to the lawyer's questions. They eventually sign the dotted line to settle the termination of the marriage. There are no tears, no feelings, no nothing, only the legal separation between two who once were deeply in love.
It is in the following scene where the audience will begin to feel perplexed, as both Marion and Gilles enter a very Spartan hotel room. Gilles asks whether he should close the blinds, but she says that it is not needed. He removes his shirt and then his undershirt while apparently getting ready for bed in the middle of the day. Marion returns to the room with a towel covering her body. She crawls into the opposite side of the bed where he is waiting naked underneath the blanket. It is bewildering to see these two in bed together right after they have signed the divorce papers.
She removes the towel and Gilles begin to gentel kiss and fondle her naked body. Then Marion's cell phone rings and she answers. She hangs up and they begin to make love when she suddenly says, "Stop." However, he desires her and knows probably from previous sexual encounters with her, as his wife, that she sometimes approaches the situation in such a manner. She continues to yell, "Stop! Stop! Stop!", and this time she really means it, but he pursues overpowering her with his full physical might. The scene radiates awkwardness, but also the sentiments of the final sexual encounter. The camera focuses in on her face. Nothing is said, but the emotions say more than a thousand words. The whole scene in the hotel room is a blur of different emotions racing by to the final sentiment where the audience maybe finds some understanding of why she got divorced from the sexual brute, Gilles.
The scene in the hotel room is the first out of five scenes between Marion and Gilles, as it backtracks into their past. Through this backward journey the audience gets to discover the mistakes and errors that have hurt them both including themselves. Maybe the audience can build an understanding of why it got to the point of the divorce, and what triggered them both to enter the hotel room in the beginning. Some of this backward story telling brings to mind the grotesquely brilliant Irreversible (2002) where the audience gets to experience the ending in the beginning through a gruesome crime. The difference between Irreversible and 5x2 is that François Ozon does not emphasize the big or traumatic incidents that lead up to the hotel scene, but on the small and subtle moments when silence, feelings and thoughts are exchanged and kept secret.
In some aspects, 5x2 is a truly wonderful and brilliant film, but the theme seems to have been reused in this film. Some might feel similarities between Ozon's film and Bergman's epic Scenes from a Marriage (1973) and maybe even Irreversible in its backward narration. Despite the similarities Ozon tells an authentic tale of a married couple's road to the final break up, which offers much for the audience to contemplate. It should also be mentioned, that Ozon's films seldom return to the same theme. Each and every time he succeeds in generating a new and interesting story, as he does with 5x2. However, he does not reach the cinematic heights of Under the Sand (2000) with 5x2, but does bring the audience on an intriguing tale of a couple's psychodynamic development."
Francois Ozon shows us an original proposal around the intimacies of a couple who started so promisingly a magnificent relationship, but along the road they will meet one each other and the final result will lead them to an expected painful finale.
Valeria Tedeschi was intense and fabulous in this film, hovered by musical memories of old Italian songs that present us the story through a smart flash back, where the end of the movie was their genesis as couple.
On one hand, the final sequence with the fixed camera reminds us Antonioni, and the way Ozon edits reminds us to Erich Rohmer, but the script is extremely crude and powerful that supports and makes of this movie a must see.
If there`s authentic love the fidelity has no sense, because is included in the word. "