It would be easy to dismiss Adore as an art house dud, a colossal miscalculation by two otherwise engaged actresses–Robin Wright and Naomi Watts.
Yet as tempting as it might be to throw Adore atop the Worst Movies of 2013 heap and be done with it, the film’s strident amorality makes such a chore irresponsible.
Adore, available on Blu-ray Dec. 10, mixes laughably bad dialogue with a quartet of characters who exist for their own fleeting pleasures.
If that message didn’t shine through via the film’s final image, the choice of an old standard sung twice by a key supporting player–Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries–underlines the motif.
French director Anne Fontaine captures an Aussie coastal community with such care in Adore you want to scratch off as many lottery tickets as you can afford to move there. It’s gorgeous, but so are both the 40-something leads and their much younger co-stars.
Wright and Watts play Roz and Lil, two mums and best pals who each have a one handsome son to call her own. Frightfully early in the film the men come on to the women (not their own mothers–the film isn’t that envelope nuking) and the ladies put up little resistance.
So begins a pair of uber-creepy romances that spark barely a moral ripple in anyone’s minds–even though one of the women is married. Watts’ character is more put off by a handsome, age-appropriate villager who fancies her. Now that’s warped in her world view.
What follows is a series of improbable sequences, more outlandish infidelity and, finally, the quasi destruction of several lives, young and old, that barely bothers our besotted quartet.
Adore teeters on camp but always plays matters straight. The young actors (James Frecheville, Xavier Samuel) were clearly chosen for their abs, not their ability to convey rich emotions. Then again, who could summon anything but soap from this scenario?
The film has little to say about older women fearing a decline in their beauty, or of younger men willing to put their powerful urges ahead of common sense. It’s a sad portrait of cinematic hedonism, but one without wit, insight or even a molecule of remorse.
Worst of all, the film fails to portray any maternal instincts in either main character. They might as well be sharing the screen with strangers, not the young men they raised for 20-odd years.
Adore may roar back to life as a cult film, a snort fest where the laughs are aimed directly at it. For now, it deserves derision for its lack of humanity.