film review: Married Life


Married Life is all about how little you might actually know about someone with which you share a bed. The minutiae of day to day life sometimes get in the way of delving into one’s psyche at times. When you’re married, time moves along and the person you knew may have actually changed, as in fact, many people actually do. It’s only natural to learn and progress in one’s life and not be stagnant. Married Life charms and delights with its various ruminations on love and relationships.

Pierce Brosnan is sexy, dapper “ladies man” Richard and there’s his “pale-lipped” friend Harry Allen (Chris Cooper). Harry has been married to Pat (Patricia Clarkson) for years and they seem to have the perfect marriage. Harry thinks killing his wife would be less complicated than divorce. Rich meets Harry’s new object of affection, young, darling Kay (Rachel McAdams). He cannot even believe that his habitual, staid friend snagged such a babe and realizes he must have her himself.

Ira Sachs (Forty Shades of Blue) wrote and directed Married Life. The film zips along with its solid script, witty and snappy dialogue and thoughtful and deliciously unpredictable moments. More than once, I was literally at the edge of my seat holding my breath. The film has elements of Hitchcock in that is it going to work and how and when it will happen. In 1949, it’s a simpler time with diners, luncheons, tea, radio, and dancing on the town or to the picture show as an actual night out. There’s something overall romantic about this time. The narration, which I have grown tired of as a plot device (I see it as such a short cut to the main ideas too often), actually works here in adding to the overall nostalgia and quaintness. Many scenes are like Hopper paintings come alive making Married Life a visual treat as well as a compelling film.

McAdams (Wedding Crashers, The Notebook) is lovely and so good in these period roles. She looks comfortable and there are layers of sweetness under that platinum hair. Clarkson possesses the right amount of mischief and devotion in her role as the dutiful, seemingly predictable wife. Brosnan is brooding and complex and yummy. I just couldn’t buy the Cooper vs. Brosnan though. Hands down I would take a wolf in Brosnan’s clothing instead of a sheep like Cooper’s character. Cooper/McAdams give the impression of father/daughter more than older man/younger woman. But please don’t let that stop you, somehow it all flows along. I suppose that in Harry, a young widow would view safe and secure instead of adventure and excitement in a guy like Rich. The entire cast is so ridiculously talented that you come to like every character in some way.

Married Life is a fantastic film that will seduce you from its first scene to its last.

STEELE SAYS: SEE IT IN THE THEATER!

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