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Married Life


Stars: Chris Cooper, Pierce Brosnan, Patricia Clarkson, Rachel McAdams, David Wenham

Director: Ira Sachs

Quite why this Canadian love tangle is set in 1949 only the writers know, but at any rate it's a pretty gentle affair, even though one of the characters is plotting to murder his wife.

Bespectacled, fiftyish Harry (Cooper), long out of love with his wife Pat (Clarkson), has somehow won the affection of lustrously beautiful Kay (McAdams, long time no see), to the bewilderment of best friend Rich (Brosnan), who soon finds he wants Kay for himself.

Expecting to find her at Harry's summer cabin, he's stunned to discover Pat there with her lover (Wenham) - but not half as disturbed as late arrival Harry, who has planned to dispose of Pat on their weekend away. Rich nearly does the decent thing and tell Pat about her husband's affair, but chickens out, which, as the plot unfolds, is just as well.

Myself, I could have done with a few devilish twists towards the end, but, in fairness, this is not what the film is about. What it does have is too much civilised but mean-little dialogue while we're waiting for something to happen. But there's tension of a kind at the end, as Cooper races to prevent his wife taking poison but gets stopped by police.

Purists will spot the gaffe that occurs when Brosnan and McAdams go to a cinema and see Pandora and the Flying Dutchman. It wasn't released until 1951.

David Quinlan

Canada/USA 2007. UK Distributor: Verve. Colour by deluxe.
90 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 01 Aug 2008