Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Javier Bardem and Salma Hayek star in The Roads Not Taken.

Courtesy of manufacturer

  • The Roads Not Taken
  • Written and directed by Sally Potter
  • Starring Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning and Salma Hayek
  • Classification R; 85 minutes

rating

1.5 out of 4 stars

It is always a treat in these time-pressed days – listen, I don’t know what you guys are up to, but I have two kids under six here – to stumble upon a movie whose run-time is listed at a slender 85 minutes. And then an extraordinary drag when you quickly realize what a chore those 85 minutes are going to be.

Such is the case with Sally Potter’s The Roads Not Taken, an exercise in miserablism that, although clocking in at an ostensibly tight pace, feels never-ending. Following one very painful and very long day in the life of Leo (Javier Bardem), a father suffering from dementia in his tiny New York apartment, Potter’s film makes several grave miscalculations from the get-go, including the film’s central conceit: Not only do we follow Leo’s bid-ridden reality, but also two parallel-universe versions of what his life might look like were circumstances different. One traces his time in Mexico with the love of his life (Salma Hayek). The other follows Leo creepily hitting on young women in Greece. None of the realities are remotely compelling, least of all the main thread that has Leo being schlepped around New York by his exhausted daughter (Elle Fanning).

Story continues below advertisement

Elle Fanning, right, is the most engaged of the film's main cast.

Courtesy of manufacturer

Maybe Potter’s dreary fantasia could have worked if her performers were engaged, but Bardem is content to just grunt, sigh or scowl his way through, while Hayek appears to wish she were anywhere else. Only Fanning seems half-into the proceedings, probably because she gets the closest to having a real character to play around with. In another, better version of this world, maybe she would have gotten her own movie.

The Roads Not Taken is available digitally on-demand starting May 19

Plan your screen time with the weekly What to Watch newsletter. Sign up today.

Related topics

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies