Love versus lust. Love versus marriage. Great love versus perfect love. Older
woman, younger man. Complications. Closure.
All of these themes have been broached in romance movies before, but it's not often that they all come together at the same time.
They do, however, all find their way into IFC Films' latest romantic venture, “5 to 7.”
“5 to 7” tells the story of Brian Bloom, a young, struggling writer who, upon chance, meets Arielle, an older, married woman. The at first awkward pair's meetings eventually lead to an affair, which comes with its own set of distinct rules. Complication follows when the couple's rendezvouses develop into something more – something against those rules.
The good thing about this film is that it often strays from the typical romantic movie. The bad part is that when it does stray, it tends to lean a little too much toward generic romantic comedy stereotypes. That back and forth at times makes the film feel out of balance.
In my opinion the best thing “5 to 7” has going for it is its small, ensemble cast. Every cast member feeds off of each other and brings enough to the table to give what's an otherwise average, predictable story the boost it needs.
Marlohe is perfect as Arielle – she's beautiful, exotic, charming and steals every scene she's in. And that is exactly what her character does. Most of the time Yelchin is on screen, he simply blends in. He could be virtually anybody, which is what Brian is, so it works very well.
The rest of the cast is rounded out by Academy Award nominees Frank Langella and Glenn Close, who as Brian's overprotective parents; Olivia Thirlby, as Brian's editor and female counterpart in this confusing game of love; and Lambert Wilson (a multiple time César Award – France's answer to the Oscar) as Arielle's husband, Valery.
Without its cast, I'd say “5 to 7” is a solid C student – it's not the best and not the worst. But with its stellar cast, I'd easily bump it up to a solid B. If you're looking for something that's not your typical Hollywood rom-com, this could be a good option for you.
“5 to 7” opens Friday, April 24, at the Landmark Theater in Edina.
★★★1/2 of ★★★★★