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Movie Review: Married Life

Alternate Title: The Trouble with Harry

Story: You can't judge a book by its cover and neither can you anticipate what these characters, set in a 1949 suburb of what might be New York, are really thinking. Director Ira Sachs with a screenplay by Sachs and Oren Moverman
have based this period piece on the book, Five Roundabouts to Heaven by John Bingham.

The seemingly good marriage of Pat and Harry is falling apart as we learn quickly when Harry confesses to his lifelong bachelor friend that he plans to leave Pat for his much younger mistress, Kay. Complications ensue when the friend meets and is smitten with Kay. Further secrets are revealed as the film unfolds about fidelity, secrets and lies.

The good news about the film is that the characters are fully rounded and altogether interesting. The sets are fabulous as we are transported to the late, very smoky, 1940's. The not so good news is that the film never seems to come to that explosive boil that we anticipate but keeps a steady tone even when heavy drama is certain to happen. Maybe the 1940's kept that steady tone, who knows?

If you like character driven films, with fine acting check out this film about love, sex and marriage.

Acting: The always fine Chris Cooper does it again as nerdy Harry, who desperately seeks love. Pierce Brosnan as the bachelor friend does not stretch himself very much, but he sure is charming. Patricia Clarkson never fails to please. She is wonderful as the conflicted Pat. Rachel McAdams as Kay is the weakest member of the cast and I am not sure I bought her in the role at all.

Predilection: None

Critters: A cat and two dogs. For those that like to know these things, one of the dogs does die in the film.

Food: Lots of meals served both at home and in restaurants.

Sex Spectrum: There is much talk about sex and plenty of infidelity but other than a leg or back here and there - not much to see.

Soundtrack: A fine mix of oldies.

Opening Titles: A delightful montage of 40's images with a song sung by Doris Day.

Visual Art: The attention to the art of the period was great to see.

Theater Audience: Four other people.

Weather: All kinds of weather except snow.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: I did not like the dead dog part at all.

Drift Factor: It held my interest.

Predictability Level: I was not sure where this would end up.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Nit Picking: The use of a narrator in this film was distracting since his tone was too jovial for the content of the film.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. For some of Chris Cooper's other fine films you could rent: Breach, Syriana, Capote, Silver City, Seabiscuit, Adaptation., The Bourne Identity, American Beauty, October Sky, A Time to Kill, Lone Star, This Boy's Life, City of Hope and Matewan

Length: 90 minutes