I DO NOT KNOW HOW IT happens, but I almost consider it a strange phenomenon that takes place between two people in a love relationship. Prior to forming their union, each of them was an independent adult with their own livelihood and own place to live. What takes place does not happen quickly but over time, where one of them takes on the identity of the other. In my experiences I have noticed more women doing it instead of men. I have been told that people in a long-term relationship start to look like each other, but I am not referring to this. What I have discovered is the wife or husband starts to lose the ability to have thoughts independent from their spouse. There is a woman I know who did this very exact thing. Prior to getting married she was not a prejudicial person or at least I thought not. She married a man who I knew had prejudices and in time she took on the same prejudices. Her speech changed where she started to quote her husband most of the time as a response to any conversation she was part of; it was the weirdest thing to me. It was as if her brain stopped functioning and she became a parrot, I am sad to say. THERE IS THAT SAYING ABOUT “OPPOSITES attract” and there is some truth to it. Personally, I believe a thriving relationship needs both similarities and diversity. I simply do not understand how a person relinquishes the things that are part of their make-up and live in the shadow of their partner. Think about the cliché “Behind every man is a strong woman.” This is true, but I wish to add it can also be reversed where the strong one is the man. I know a couple where the wife is in the forefront while the husband takes care of things in the background. Since I have a strong personality I have always been most comfortable with someone who is similar. I will never forget this one relationship I had to end because they started to take on my likes/dislikes and preferences; let me tell you it was freaky. All I am saying is I find it odd when this phenomenon or maybe I should say personality trait takes place with one person in a relationship. If you want to see a fascinating example, then feel free to watch this film festival nominated drama. HAVING SUPPORTED HER HUSBAND’S CAREER her whole life Joan Cattleman, played by Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction, Albert Nobbs), was on the verge of seeing his ultimate success, becoming a recipient of the Nobel Prize. The event would offer more than prize money to them. With Jonathan Pryce (Tomorrow Never Dies, Glengarry Glen Ross) as Joe Castleman, Christian Slater (True Romance, Mr. Robot-TV) as Nathaniel Bone, Max Irons (The Host, Woman in Gold) as David Castleman and Elizabeth McGovern (Once Upon a Time in America, Downton Abbey-TV) as Elaine Mozell; this movie’s strength was all due to the acting between Glenn and Jonathan. They were so good together that it made up for the porous script. I enjoyed the story but found some events taking place without much backstory. They were great for drama but almost seemed out of the blue. If it wasn’t for the acting I may have had a different experience watching this picture. Glenn had such penetrating screen presence there were times I felt I was feeling her smolder. Oh, and I will say I found the ending a bit too convenient. But despite my complaints I still stayed engaged all the way to the end of the story, even though I never had such an experience in my relationships.
As I came through the front door I immediately noticed the dead cigarette butt dangling on the edge of the cedar chest. No one smoked in the house. At one time the cigarette was lit because there now was a deep ashen scar exposing the unfinished wood beneath the polished surface. My eyes were drawn from the cigarette butt to the hall closet with its mirrored door gaping open. Inside the clothes were disheveled and piled up on the floor; there were several wire and wooden hangers dangling naked from the clothes rod. These two things did not connect together in my brain right away; however, as I walked into the bedroom it all made sense. A burglar had broken into the house and stole some clothing, jewelry and a small television. I was in shock as all of this sunk in and I realized how fortunate I was that the cigarette did not start a fire, destroying not only the apartment but the others in the building. As I moved from room to room an awful feeling came over me; I felt so violated and vulnerable. There was such a sense of dread, feeling unsafe in my own home; it weighed heavily as I imagined this stranger walking through the house not realizing the sentimental significance to items, let alone the things I needed like clothing. At least I had no idea who it was; can you imagine if I was home when the burglar broke in and took what they wanted for themselves? MARIA Altmann, played by Helen Mirren (The Queen, The Debt), had only her memories when she fled Nazi occupied Austria. Making a life for herself in the United States, it was not until her sister’s death that Maria thought about the things that were taken away from her and her family so many years ago. One of the objects dear to her was a portrait of her aunt, painted by Gustav Klimt. Though it was hanging in an Austrian museum, she felt it belonged with her. Based on a true story, I enjoyed the way this drama portrayed the present and past together. The key in making it all work fell upon Helen and Tatiana Maslany (The Vow, Eastern Promises) who played the young Maria. I thought Max Irons (The Host, Red Riding Hood) who played Fritz, young Maria’s husband, was a strong asset too. Ryan Reynolds (The Voices, Green Lantern) as lawyer Randol Schoenberg was better than I have previously seen him but not on the same level as Helen. The script may have been predictable but I did not mind because I was fascinated with the “story behind the story” aspect to this drama. Granted my theft cannot compare to Maria’s but I felt a solid connection to this movie.
Beauty beyond skin deep was an underlying message I picked up from this romantic science fiction film. My friends have heard me say so many times, the body is rented. I have always been fascinated to see old photographs of long term partners. To see how their physical appearance could have dramatically changed but not the connection between their hearts is something I truly admire. Stuff like hair color, weight and height are simply frivolous decorations compared to a person’s soul in my opinion. The story in this movie could really have taken the concept of a person’s identity and expanded it. An alien race arrived on earth to inhabit the bodies of humans, replacing their individuality with their own. The process was painless and efficient most of the time; unless the person was strong minded. One such person was Melanie, played by Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, The Lovely Bones). She had made a promise to see her little brother Jamie, played by Chandler Canterbury (Knowing, Repo Man), again. Would Melanie’s love for him and boyfriend Jared, played by Max Irons (Being Julia, Red Riding Hood), be stronger than an alien invasion? This was not the first time mankind has been invaded in the movies. However, the script was so cheesy and flat; I was bored for the majority of the film. With the writers having Diane Kruger (Unknown, National Treasure) as the Seeker, William Hurt (Dark City, A History of Violence) as Uncle Jeb and Frances Fisher (Titanic,Unforgiven) as Maggie in the cast; it was a shame they did not do some rewriting to give these actors more meatiness to their characters. I have not read Stephenie Meyer’s book this movie was based on, but I suspect it may play like a soap opera as did this film. Saoirse’s acting has been something I have respected. She gave it a good try here, but by the end of the movie I believe she really was not running away from aliens; she was running to get out of this dud. A couple of brief scenes with blood.
1 3/4 stars