The grass is always greener over the septic tank
Peter Shelley | Sydney, New South Wales Australia | 01/09/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This 3 part British TV movie is remarkable for giving us Theresa Russell in a performance less mannered than usual. It probably helps that her husband Nicolas Roeg isn't the director since their collaborations - Bad Timing, Cold Heaven, Insignificance, Track 29, Eureka - are exercises in excruciata. Here director David Hayman tones down Russell's Valley Girl breathiness and slatterny tight-jaw, and even releases her sense of humour. She is the main focus and the only American of the 4 women who dally in adultery to different extents. Her affair with married Sean Bean climaxes in a confrontation about photos she has taken of him unknowingly, and her anger is funny. She plays off all her co-stars well, and has a good-natured chuminess with Bean's sister, Amanda Donohoe, herself involved with a married man, and Donohoe's directness is always good to have around. Less coverage is given to married Ingrid Lacey and her affair, and Fiona Gillies as a cuckolder. Lacey has the good fortune to have Adrian Dunbar as her husband, but Gillies is the less empathetic of the lot, probably since her strategies are so obvious, and because the cuckolded Pooky Quesnel is so touchingly vulnerable. The treatment given to these misdemeanours thankfully doesn't demonise men, and we see the irony of adultery - the participants who dream of romance and liberation are swamped with awkwardness, frustration and guilt. Hayman stages 3 party scenes to display social embarassment and subterfuge, uses a cliched but funny opening of shutters to introduce us to Paris, and cuts from a painful admission to the admittor being photographed applying lip liner. A few lines made me laugh - "This is a love affair, not a business deal", and "If he cared about me he wouldn't have had an affair with me". However the music score by the Munich Symphonic Orchestra (!) is inappropriate - we expect everyone to appear in period dress. Now, if only Roeg could have an affair and use an actress other than his wife once in a while ..."
Curious Mix: Some Good Acting & Lousy Script
C Ruiz-Esparza | San Francisco, left of Albuquerque | 08/12/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This movie verged on a 3-star rating just because I really liked 75% of the acting. The script and story have little muscle and barely outline motivations that are supposed to be subtle. The script nudges the action with stereotypes. The story is dated by its emerging feminism that might not be so obvious on that side of the planet now. I watched the whole thing because some of the actors presented interesting characters - they brought presence to the movie in a way I don't think an American actor and director could have done. (Isn't the U.K one big chamber ensemble anyway?) Amanda Donohoe, Sean Bean (a current favorite of mine these days), and Adrian Dunbar pulled my interest along while I did chores and had nothing else to watch. Theresa Russell is a problem. She is pretty, [physically attractive], spunky and had no chemistry with the other actors on screen. In a profession where work is so sparsely available, I am grateful that the producers hired these talented people to keep the paychecks coming to tide them over for a better script and production. The photography is well done."
An excellent surprise
mimozas_husband | Seattle, WA United States | 09/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The film tells the story of three couples each faced with the issue of infidelity. The characters are very convincing and played by an excellent cast of british stars and while the film is long it was very engrossing. While three-couples-in-one story has become quite a worn out format for relationship movies, this one excells at it with the depth of the emotions experienced by the characters, the lenghts to which the script goes in exploring the motivation behind their behaviour and the marvellous performance of the actors.Very highly recommended for couples who want to watch something intelligent together."