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Adore: The talents of Robin Wright and Naomi Watts can’t escape this love story’s mothers-sons ick factor

Robin Wright and Naomi Watts in Adore.

1.5 out of 4 stars

Written by
Christopher Hampton, Anne Fontaine
Directed by
Anne Fontaine
Starring
Robin Wright, Naomi Watts, Xavier Samuels, James Frecheville
Classification
18A
Country
Australia/France
Language
English
Year
2013

Outré love stories are great, as are love stories that make viewers squirm. But they have to ring true emotionally, and despite its talented cast, Adore does not.

Naomi Watts and Robin Wright play lifelong friends, mothers of sons, who live in an idyllic Australian beach town. One day they notice that their boys, who are also best friends, have grown up. ("They're like Greek gods," one woman says to another, watching the young men surf.)

Then one night, Wright and Watts's son end up alone in her house, and soon enough, in his bed, together. Watts's reaction, after precious little tsk-tsking, is to sleep with Wright's son.

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Before long, the foursome are acting like married couples, laughing their way through wine-fuelled dinner parties and then retreating discreetly to each other's houses, in a scenario that gets more risible the longer it goes on. And it goes on a long time.

I'm not quite sure what director Anne Fontaine is going for here, dressing her leads in girly flowered prints, and zooming in on their attractive crow's feet. Is she saying older women's sexual power is too easily dismissed, that they deserve a healthy romp in the hay? Maybe. But the relationships are too close to incestuous, and too far from believable, to ever rise above the ick factor.

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