Very interesting film, with great visuals. It does not, in any traditional sense, allow the user to make much sense of it. I am still a bit baffled by the ending. Recommended for the sci-fi fan who likes sci-fi for the sake of sci-fi and doesn't necessarily need a coherent storyline.
Margaret E. (mde) from SPOKANE VLY, WA Reviewed on 10/21/2009...
The story, being science fiction, has lots of strange twists, but the joy is watching the talented Joaquin Phoenix do his silent "speaking" with his face and eyes. He is amazing. The film is one you'll want to watch again and again.
3 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Douglas F. (dougf) from AURORA, CO Reviewed on 8/23/2009...
I don't get it. I really don't get it.
Beautiful, Unique, Misunderstood Film
Lostgirl | 03/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's All About Love has been criminally underrated. It's been called confused, convoluted, and pretentious. Well let's try another adjective: different. This is not the same kind of thing we've seen a million times before. In fact it seems to defy genre pigeon-holing.
Thomas Vinterberg, co-founder of the Dogma 95 moment towards "purity" in cinema made the excellent "Festen" and then took his craft to the other extreme with this futuristic fable. Set in a near future where the earth is on the brink of a new ice age the film tells the story of a Polish professor, John and his wife Elena plan to divorce. The couple have grown apart due to Elena's demanding schedule (she's a champion figure-skater) but when John arrives in New York to sign the final divorce papers, Elena begs him not to leave, confessing that she's in a danger that she doesn't completely understand.
The plot that follows is twisting and at times intentionally absurd: People drop dead in the streets due to a mysterious heart ailment, in mid-july it starts to snow all over the world, a man once afraid of flying overdoses on his medication and is now afriad to land, and as everything people think they understand is turned upside-down it's impossible to know who to trust.
But to view this film you have to put aside conventional notions of narrative structure or how a plot should unfold. Viewing this film is very much like participating in a dream. You have to go where it takes you- even if that's somewhere unusual.
Each shot in this movie is beautifully photographed channeling Hitchcock visually. Every thought in Joaquin Phoenix's head seems to appear on his face, while Claire Danes deftly channels a Hitchcock blonde. Alun Armstong and Sean Penn excel in smaller roles.
When I first saw this I wasn't sure if I liked it. But I found myself thinking about it a lot in the days following. On second viewing I think I understood it better. But it's not a film that's meant to be understood so much as experienced. I've "understood" it differently each time I've watched. I would recommend this film to anyone who is open to the experience.
Shallow people:avoid it!
Zee | NYC | 08/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, first thing i noticed in the first 5 minutes of the movie: we see NYC in the year 2021, and the director didnt try to get into the usual Sci-Fi thing, no futuristic cars.. nothing is too weird as clothes, etc. the same NYC we see now, same yellow cabs, although its 15 years from now. since the 1st minute, and with the line: 'the last 7 days of my life' I knew i was going to watch something different, not the usual story telling, the boring action predictable thing. and thats what iwas hoping to see. all the 'weird' 'symbols' in the film: clonning of ice skaters, flying people in africa, people dying in the street of some heart attack and people stepping over them like it was a normal every day thing.. all these are not things to understand, rather feel. its the world we are living in. the earth is dying..and we all will have to go soon. the global warming..the wars every where.. THE LACK OF LOVE. not in the shallow sense, Romance, but in wider deeper sense. its what we have become now..and imagine what we will be in 15 years from today. the news reporting people flying in Uganda.. today news reports of all the people dying in stupid wars here and there.. they are both absurd! got it?? the last image in the film, where people are tied to ropes trying to stay oin earth... isnt it a strong image? to summon all these ideas? people trying hard to stay on earth, survive.. I cant explain this movie to you, simply cause it's made for adults.. grown ups, and if you are over 18 and cant digest it yet, then nothing on earth will ever do that. maybe you will have to experience the world in 20 years or so from now, and then you might be able to get what that film was trying to say. but it will be too late by then. the movie was beautifully shot.. every scene was beautiful. the blue color expressing coldness (of feelings and weather). the weird clonned ice skaters.. we didnt see any single emotion or expressing of feelings from anyone but the 2 main characters, and Penn. everyone here who didnt like the film was wondering what made this great talented cast join this film. I think you d just said it. cause they are good and know what they do. maybe you see things better than Penn, danes and phoenix. maybe they should consult you before choosing thier scripts from now on, cause obviously you are much morer intellectual and brighter than them."
"Does this all make sense? Or is it too weird?"
V. Sanford | The far north | 11/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An apocalyptic, fantastic dream of a love story wrapped up in a hallucinatory cocktail of poetry and karma, this movie is at once thought-provoking and way too much effort, so it is bound to be a "love it or hate it" kind of viewing experience. Especially the first time around. The telling quote used as the title of this review, by the way, is from the films' writer, producer and director, Thomas Vinterberg.
OK, so people are dying in the streets of NYC from lack of love, the world is freezing over, and Ugandans are floating away while the sinister Russian ice-princess cloning plot goes on. This movie is ridiculous and at the same time a commentary on so many things that are going on under our collective noses, right NOW (even if many of us can't/won't see it), and the choices we all have right in front of us.
In my opinion, "It's All Aboout Love" has way more pluses than minuses. It's well worth checking out, especially if you liked "Gattica" or "The Fountain". The cinematography is perfectly surreal, and the "good vs. evil" mentality you find in most movies today has been elevated to a "love vs. fear" kind of vibe. A strange, wonderful and terrifying film, made for a strange, wonderful and terrifying world.
Led by Joaquin Phoenix and Claire Danes,"It's All About Love" is narrated by Sean Penn. If you didn't like it/get it the first time around, I would suggest that you try it again. For me, the first viewing merely aroused my curiosity and compelled me to give it another look; the effort was well worth it."
A beautiful love story set in a troubled future
L. Palmer | Conway, AR United States | 01/30/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's 2021 and earth is in trouble, experiencing weather anomalies and a reduction in the force of gravity. People are literally dropping dead in the streets from a "heart disease" that is the result of loneliness or the absence of friends and loved ones. John (Joaquin Phoenix) is meeting with his estranged wife, Elena (a famous figure skater) to get their divorce papers signed. He soon realizes that something is wrong; his wife is in danger. Johns goes into protector mode and as the two of them elude those who would harm her, their love is beautifully rekindled.
I loved this movie even though it made me sad. I don't think one viewing is enough since some of its subtleties escaped me. But I got the gist (it really is all about love) and will not minding watching it a few more times to figure it out. The performances of Claire and Joaquin make that worthwhile and rewarding. "
But Director of Photography Should Get 5 Stars
Jennifer | Houston, TX, USA | 07/19/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"And I can't quit watching it. I recorded it on DVR from cable in the US. I thought that Joaquin was terrible the first time I saw it, after being such a fan of his from Quills and Gladiator and other movies I've seen of his (and both of those have heavy accents, so what give with him?). But in subsequent watchings, as I often do, I think I finally get it. It is not too meaty of a part and he is trying to play kind of an ordinary guy to his skating star wife. Reminds me of Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut, the nerdy doctor. Claire Danes, on the other hand, is outstanding. She reminds me a lot of Franka Potente (Blow, All I Want, Run Lola Run). I watched her TV series long ago and liked her but she has grown into an amazing actress. They both had a little accent problem. They were supposed to be Polish and I kept telling myself that Joaquin was brought to the US as a baby (I'm *really* trying to like him). Claire has her moments when she reverts to American, but does a much better job. Sean Penn's accent is over the top, completely (but he makes a good Greek Chorus). I am surprised at him as he is usually so prepared. I have to blame the director for this, for there is a thread of the actors not caring, just going through the motions (except Claire). It is set 20 years in the future and very plausible (except I hope the concept of cell phones changes!) and where the gravity holes in Africa show up is anyone's guess. But the basic plot is pretty cool. I am a figure skater and they got it right, mostly. I could tell the skating doubles were not world class skters, but most people wouldn't and the choreography was very nice. I really like the premise that if people are lonely or lovelorn, something goes to their hearts and they die, and I think a lot of people would relate to that. I have watched it about 5 times now but I think it would have a specialized audience which is why I give it a '3'. Don't buy this for your kids for the skating as it is very violent in the rink."