Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5
USA/Germany, 2004. New Line Cinema, Fine Line Features, Lou Yi Inc., Academy Films, March Entertainment. Screenplay by Jean-Claude Carriere, Milo Addica, Jonathan Glazer. Cinematography by Harris Savides. Produced by Lizie Gower, Nick Morris, Jean-Louis Piel. Music by Alexandre Desplat. Production Design by Kevin Thompson. Costume Design by John Dunn. Film Editing by Sam Sneade, Clas Wehlisch.
Ten years after her husband collapsed and died while jogging in Central Park, Nicole Kidman is celebrating her mother’s birthday when a little boy enters the room and tells her that he is her husband, reincarnated. Thinking it a joke, Kidman sends the boy away only to notice him reappearing at her doorstep on several more occasions, until she starts to believe that he might actually be telling the truth. Her impending marriage to the new man in her life (Danny Huston) is now being threatened by the strings of sorrow that still attach her to her previous husband.
Directed with languid rhythm by Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast), this passionate treatise on the nature of love and grief is a thought-provoking meditation on what makes us who we are, and what it is that makes others love us. Just when it threatens to turn conventional in its last third, the film actually goes in the right direction, defying its audience’s expectations and treating them to a cinematic experience of the highest order.
Kidman couldn’t possibly be better as the saddened woman, with endless close-ups that reveal an impressive range of fragility and intense strength. The entire supporting cast is excellent, most especially a riveting Anne Heche as a former friend of the dead husband, and Lauren Bacall as her cynical mother.
An exquisite film, featuring one of the most beautiful musical scores of the year, surreally atmospheric photography and a screenplay (co-written by Glazer, European cinema giant Jean-Claude Carriere and Monster’s Ball‘s Milo Addica) that is impeccable.
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Actress-Drama (Nicole Kidman)
Venice Film Festival: In Competition