Adore

From the director of Coco Avant Chanel

Adore has been adapted by Christopher Hampton from Doris Lessing’s story ‘The Grandmothers’, which is said to be inspired by true events. In the film, Lil (Watts) and Roz (Wright) are lifelong, inseparable friends who each have a son: Ian (Xavier Samuel) and Tom (James Frecheville), respectively. With Roz’s husband (Ben Mendelsohn) growing ever so distant, Ian begins to act on his feelings for his best friend’s mom, which she, to her surprise, reciprocates. Blindsided by their affair, Tom pursues Lil, and soon the four of them try to normalise these two unusual romantic relationships.

poster art for AdoreRather than dwelling on the shock of these affairs, Fontaine calmly investigates the emotional repercussions, illustrating how none of the four characters can extricate him or herself from the relationships. Early on, she quickly and convincingly establishes the bond between the two women and their sons, showing how easily their platonic feelings for one another could eventually drift toward romantic stirrings. Subtly, Adore questions whether Lil and Roz’s deep friendship – outsiders sometimes wonder if they’re lesbians – might have been partly to blame for these ill-advised romantic pursuits. (Sharing their sons is just another way to share a part of their lives.)

Watts and Wright are both superb playing women who didn’t ask to fall in love with each other’s son but who quickly try to rationalise the situation once it takes hold. There will be those who find their actions unconscionable, but the strength of these actresses’ performances is how persuasively they reveal Lil and Roz’s guilt, concern, and exhilaration in equal measure. Rather than condemning these women, Adore goes beneath the surface to show the emptiness and longing that have pushed Lil and Roz toward such a romantic entanglement. The leads make their characters strongly empathetic in an understated way, even when they seem to have ensured their own heartbreak.

– Tim Grierson, Screen International
 

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