Directed by Anne Fontaine
Starring Robin Wright, Naomi Watts, Xavier Samuel, James Frecheville
Conflicting impulses tug at the mind when it comes to assessing the new drama “Adore.” It’s the classic good- bad shoulder angel dilemma writ large.
On one hand, this is a gorgeous movie filled with lush 35 mm cinematography, populated by serene images of characters in repose against the clear blue waters of the Australian coast. At the same time, the premise is so foreign from reality that the entire production is doomed from the start.
Robin Wright and Naomi Watts star as lifelong best friends Roz and Lil. After watching their teenage sons (Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville) surfing and remarking on their “god-like” appearances, the moms begin affairs with each other’s offspring. They find out about the other’s activities and agree to continue the relationships.
There’s an otherworldly erotic beauty about the movie, manifest in the portrait of characters so strongly drawn to each other that they’re emotionally and physically shut off from their surroundings. Director Anne Fontaine keeps returning to images of the foursome stretched out on a floating dock in the middle of the sea, seemingly miles from land.
But let’s be honest: The story is creepy, filled with oedipal sex scenes and unconvincing emotional outbursts, driven by an aesthetic that recalls a softcore B-movie rather than a legitimate drama.