You might expect a ménage à trois movie called Splendor to be some sort of steamy, soft-lit sex romp, but it is, in fact, a witty, sassy romantic comedy. Writer-director Gregg Araki set out to make a '30s screwball comedy ... more »with a modern twist, and he's mostly succeeded. Splendor is brisk and funny, and if it seems a bit convenient that two guys could love (and sleep with) one woman without killing each other, it's all in the service something bigger--the story of a woman forced to choose between love and security. Kathleen Robertson has a certain impish charm (which unfortunately wears thin at times), Johnathon Schaech and Matt Keeslar are fun as the rivals who ultimately become best buds, but it's Eric Mabius who quietly steals every scene he's in as a TV movie director who's so thoughtful and kind, yet self-absorbed, that he might comfort his bride-to-be on their wedding day by sweetly telling her, "Honey, Amazon.com says I stole every scene I'm in, isn't that great?" --Geof Miller« less
Kevin J. Harrington | San Francisco, CA United States | 11/26/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a daring topic and I wish more theaters had shown the film. Can two men love a woman and share her in a way that makes it work? This movie attempts to answer that question without compulsively tacking on moralistic, "don't try this at home" endings where the relationship ends disastrously almost before it starts with jealousy-crazed, immature tantrum-throwing on the part of the protagonists. It also blows a few stereotypes in a delightful way: the two men in question seem like normal, heterosexual guys, if a bit immature; the woman is a nice, girl-next-door type who is just trying to find someone to love her and hits the jackpot, rather than a nymphomaniac. Somehow, it's the rest of the world that starts looking a bit strange after a while -- nobody else seems to get it.The film isn't very explicit, which has its pluses and minuses -- other movies that have dealt with similar scenarios invariably do a thoroughly awkward, uncreative job of portraying a threesome, so it would have been nice to see an improvement on that -- but I think Araki wanted to focus on the romantic, emotional side of a threeway relationship rather than the sexual aspects, which this film does quite well. I would also have liked the film to be a bit longer to allow for more character development of the men (it's told from the woman's perspective so it's easier to develop her character than theirs); what was it about the men that made the woman think that it could work between the three of them? Those points aside, this is a serious film and I highly recommend it."
Three's Company, for the Millennium!
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 11/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'Splendor', from writer/director Gregg Araki, is a bright, witty comedy of relationships, told from a woman's perspective. The film's opening shot sets the tone for the entire film; a beautiful girl lies between two handsome men, a look of pure bliss on her face, and sleepy satisfaction on theirs! Unusual for a mainstream American film, but this is NOT your usual 'Boy Meets Girl' movie!Young Veronica, portrayed by the astonishingly lovely Kathleen Robertson, comes to Hollywood to pursue an acting career; one evening, attending a crowded costume party with lesbian friend, Mike (British actress Kelly McDonald), she sees hunky drummer Zed (played with goofy charm by Matt Keeslar), and immediately is aroused, much to Mike's chagrin! As she is pulled away, she literally runs into handsome, sensitive writer Abel (the always watchable Johnathon Schaech) and sparks fly again, despite Mike's funny insults! After passing him her phone number, she retreats to the bathroom...and runs into Zed! Passions explode immediately, and a tryst begins that ends in her apartment, the next day...when Abel phones her!Veronica bemoans the fact that it's always 'feast or famine', but likes both guys too much to date either of them, exclusively! Of course the two suitors eventually meet, and Veronica is so sweet and desirable that she manages to convince both of them that a loving relationship between the three is not only possible, but desirable! This would be the 'end' of many films, but director Araki uses the threesome as the framework for an entire movie, covering a wide assortment of funny situations! As the 'glue' that holds this unusual relationship together, Robertson's portrayal of Veronica is a marvel, funny and sexy, yet vulnerable! Can this trio of young lovers survive, especially with a young, wealthy TV director (Eric Mabius) waiting in the wings, to take Veronica away from all this? Buy 'Splendor', and find out! You WON'T be disappointed!"
Cute, enjoyable romantic tale.
Mark Twain | 06/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"`Splendor' is a wonderful film by indie director Gregg Araki, who with such films as Nowhere, The Doom Generation, and Totally f***ed up, has been dubbed "The God of Alternative Gay Teen Cinema." The film opens on Halloween night at a costume party, where out heroine, Veronica, an aspiring actress (is there any other kind?) meets her Prince Charming (literally), Abel, a freelance rock critic, after he accidentally runs into her. As their eyes meet, the two realize that they are destined for each other. As Veronica begins to walk away, due to protests from her lesbian best friend Mikey, Abel asks for her number and she gives it to him. Less than five minutes later, Veronica sees the gorgeous drummer of the band playing at the party, and they immediately have sex, without even an introduction.
It isn't long before Veronica is steadily dating the two men, with their permission of course. The two men know that they are sharing the same woman, but they have never met each other. When Veronica invites Abel to one of Zed's concerts, the two men run into each other and complications arise.
This film deals with a daring topic and I wish that more theaters had shown it during its theatrical run. Surprisingly, the film isn't very explicit, but I think that Araki wanted to focus more on the romantic, emotional side of a threeway relationship rather than the sexual aspects, which the film does quite well. This movie was very enjoyable and somewhat different from the corny romantic comedies out there, although the end did manage to take that route. The script was fresh and funny, and the performances were great. I love Kathleen Robertson and its been good seeing her in such daring roles lately. Johnathon Schaech was terrific as always, and Matthew Kessler, who plays Zed, is one of the sexiest actors I have ever seen. This is one I can watch over and over and I am eagerly anticipating whatever will come next from this great director. Highly recommended for those who want to see a slightly different romantic comedy."
Araki still working toward his masterpiece
Matthew Horner | USA | 05/14/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Writer/director Greg Araki switches from dark despair ["The Doom Generation", "Nowhere"] to romantic comedy in "Splendor", but many of his usual suspects remain, as he continues to etch portraits of contemporary young people in very modern situations. Like his other films, this one has moments of brilliance separated by sequences that are fairly long and static. Though he has yet to make a consistently interesting movie, he remains a smart and promising filmmaker. The plot is intriguing. A young woman [Kathleen Robertson], who has shied away from relationships for several years, falls in love with two men on the same night. Unable to decide between the two, she takes them both as lovers - at first separately, later jointly. The guys [Jonathan Schaech and Matt Keeslar] are initially angry over her choice, but she manages to overcome their objections. The trio ends up living together, much to the horror of her Lesbian best friend [Kelly McDonald]. A series of unfortunate incidents cause her to question her unorthodox love life. A successful, thoughtful film director [Eric Mabius] quietly convinces her that his love and lifestyle would be more advantageous to her.The cast is great. Robertson is one of the more beautiful and talented actresses working today. Keeslar and Schaech are quite funny as the two adoring, sexy lovers whose main problem is that they appear to be sharing a brain. Mabius and McDonald are believable and right on in their roles.Once again, the main faults are in Araki's script. He seems like the type whose writing abilities do not quite match his brilliant imagination. For example, the dual lovers never convey the mental attributes Robertson ascribes to them early in the movie. Also, her character narrates too much. The story doesn't really need many of her observations. Araki also seems hesitant to explore fully some of the obvious sexual possibilities he himself sets up. The trio plays Truth or Dare in one scene, and the heroine dares to boys to kiss each other. They do so, not too unwillingly, but then this subject is never brought up again. My point is not that they must or must not be attracted to each other. It's that the subject should never have been brought up at all if it's not part of the plot. I enjoyed "Splendor" and am convinced that one day Araki will pull out all the stops and drop all his inhibitions. What an amazing movie that will be."
Absolutely appealing and suprisingly hip.
Indy film fan | Ontario, Canada | 12/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gregg Araki has made a name for himself in the darker and more obscure side of film. Though this film has flourishes of the same Araki we have come to know (threesomes and homosexuality) this title is suprisingly hip and even refreshing. Being canadian, I have come to like the talents of the few actors hailing from my country. Kathleen Robertson fills a role that is nothing short of ravishing and adorable. It's much different from the sarcastic and barbed character she played in Nowhere (Lucifer). She is by far the heart and soul of this delightful and sexy comedy. Watching this movie, to me, was like drinking a strawberry milkshake in every sense. The storyline was, as some have put, a more modern version of "Three's Company" wich is also made mention of at one point in the movie. The plot takes many unique turns and the ending is even more of a delightful suprise. The soundtrack to this movie is excellent as Gregg once again proves his talent in musical selection as well as filmaking. Like in Nowhere, if you follow the closing credits through for a bit you'll be treated to another half a minute or so of antics from the characters. In summary this movie is a 3/4 or so change from the Araki we have come to know and love, but definitely another great movie success. (For the record.....Ms Kathleen Robertson, great job! Love ya lots!)"