Movie review: 'Face of Love' full of believable portrayals

For the News-DemocratMarch 28, 2014 

What It's About

A grieving widow struggles to accept her husband's death. One day, she glimpses a man who bears a striking resemblance to her beloved Garrett, and obsessively pursues him. Can such a relationship endure is the intriguing question "The Face of Love" explores.

With striking work from gifted actors and an alluring premise, this movie hooks us, even when things start to unravel. The film's look is lush, and there is enough suspense to maintain interest.


Annette Bening and Ed Harris remind us how good they are, and their chemistry together is powerful.

Bening, a smart actress who works infrequently, brings out the emotional fragility of a bereaved woman acting irrationally. Married for 30 years to the love of her life, her loss turns her manicured world upside down.

Her poignant turn as Nikki is matched by Harris' impressive work as not only the charismatic, doomed husband, but also the kind new love, artist Tom.

Harris distinguishes both characters, and these meaty roles show why he was a prominent presence in such movies as "Pollock," "Apollo 13" and "A Beautiful Mind."

Contributing fine supporting performances are a toned-down Robin Williams ("Good Will Hunting') as a widower neighbor who is a cherished companion of Nikki's, and the luminous Amy Brenneman ("Judging Amy") as Tom's friendly ex-wife.

What Works

Artfully shot, with a hint of mystery invoking "Vertigo," "The Face of Love" benefits from the director's keen visual eye and stylish cinematography by Antonio Riestra.

The plot might not stand up to scrutiny, but the actors keep us fascinated with their believable portrayals.

The upscale L.A. setting is terrific eye candy, particularly Nikki's stunning home and Tom's engaging artwork.

What Doesn't Work

The script by director Arie Posin ("Chumscrubber") and Matthew McDuffie might not be totally satisfying, but there are some terrific moments.

The excellent performances, however, are enough to recommend the film, as they keep us captivated and wanting more.

3 stars out of 4

Director: Arie Posin

Starring: Annette Bening, Ed Harris, Robin Williams, Amy Brenneman

Rated: PG-13 for brief drug references

Length: 1:32

Showing at Plaza Frontenac.

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