Cover Art: 6/10
While the images on the cover all represent parts of the movie, it reminds me of a bad novel, and that’s not what would we getting my attention if I were shopping for a movie to watch in the store. It’s kind of blah, but I love this movie so I can live with a poor cover. Let’s hope they put a collector’s edition together sometime in the future with more for the “behind-the-scene-lovers” in the world.
Unfortunately this DVD does not include any extras. Why is it that some of the best stories in the most intriguing movies are often left on their own when it comes to DVD time? This is the perfect kind of film for all the juicy tid bits and extras to talk about how it came from the original screen play to the big screen. All we get with Separate Lives is a commentary and trailer. Commentaries I dig, but a trailer? Come on people. Hire the documentary film maker to follow you around when you go to make a movie like this, because you know you will want some stuff for the DVD later. 🙂
The Movie: 8/10
British movies have a certain way of lulling me into submission with their gorgeous backdrops, muted pacing, and dynamic well controlled characters. Separate Lies has it all and more.
We are introduced to characters who are emotionally repressed, unhappy, and disillusioned about life, love, and marriage. It all sounds so real, doesn’t it? And yet their circumstances are, of course, very dramatic. You can imagine yourself in the same predicament, but it’s a stretch to think you or anyone you know would really react the way they do. These people make choices that put them in a tragic situation and, as with most British films, they resolve their problems with a level of disturbing civility we Americans might not be able to grasp.
The married couple lives on the brink of perfection, or so it seems. The wife, though she smiles and seems content, feels controlled, inhibited, and bored. The husband keeps everything in order from his successful law career to the serving plates his wife uses for dinner. He is unaware of his wife’s discontent. Enter the snotty, semi-sexy rogue who has lived in America, is stinking rich, and doesn’t shy away from being a jerk.
You can imagine how a frustrated wife, sexy younger neighbor, and a stuffy husband’s lives will converge into something other than happily ever after. Through an unfortunate event the whole fragile facade of the marriage and illicit affair falls apart. There’s the wife’s open affair with rogue boy, and Mr. Perfect Attorney-man’s fling with his secretary. No one in this story seems to have paid attention to the vows that one day back when they bothered to get married, but then if everyone made all the right choices movies would be quite boring.
The tension is so palpable for most of the story that you are bound to the edge of your seat wondering what’s coming next, even though it’s not an action flick or a thriller. It’s the people you care about and the question of what will happen after these people make their bad choices that keeps you hanging on for dear life, line after line, scene after scene. I love it.
The story is so much more interesting than most Hollywood-type dramas, and the dialogue is a treat to listen to (could be that I’m partial to teh accent :). Something about those English folks and the way they can insult you, hurt your feelings, or tell you they are about to screw your wife that still sounds so charming and comforting 🙂
Great movie, blah DVD, too expensive (over 20 bucks most places). This is not a purchase for most people, but if you love a truly good film that features interesting characters who make fascinating choices, this is a must see. If you love British flicks, again, go get it, rent it, whatever it takes, just see it.
Overall Score 7/10