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Greetings again from the darkness. Somewhere along the line, the magic
of movie romance has been lost. Love stories these days tend to take
either the direction of snark or sap (or whips). Ever so popular in the
1940's and 50's, well-written sentimentality for the big screen would
best be described these days as passé'. And that's what makes
writer/director Victor Levin's little film such a pleasure to
We begin with a narrator proclaiming that some of the best writing is
found on the tribute plaques attached to the benches within Central
Park. Those plaques are used a few times throughout the film to drive
home a particular situation or status within the story. The narrator is
Brian (Anton Yelchin, Star Trek), a 24 year old struggling writer whose
parents want him to give up his writing dream and head to law school.
One day, while walking through the city, Brian catches a glimpse of
striking woman smoking a cigarette. He crosses the street and the two
exchange some clever banter. Just like that
the story begins and
their lives are forever changed.
The woman is Arielle (Berenice Marlohe, Skyfall), and she is French,
older than Brian, and married
3 things that are equally problematic
according to his dad (Frank Langella), though his mom (Glenn Close) is
just thrilled someone likes her boy. As the flirting escalates, Arielle
proceeds to explain to Brian that she is open to seeing him daily
between the hours of 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Familiar with French
language, but unfamiliar with customs, Brian is brought up to speed on
"cinq a sept" affairs a tradition in France, where a married person's
whereabouts are not questioned during the period after work and before
As you might guess, the affair does wonders for Brian as he is finally
experiencing the world
connection. Arielle opens his eyes
and mind to many things, and Brian is especially taken aback as the
lines blur between family and outsiders. This leads him to meet Jane
(Olivia Thirlby), who is not just a rising young editor, but also the
mistress to Arielle's husband Valery (Lambert Wilson). Yes, it's a
tangled web that's woven.
Mr. Levin's script is remarkable in its effectiveness at providing the
awkward situations with a dose of humor; and his targets include Jews,
the French, and Americans and their customs. It's impossible not to
think of the classic film The Graduate, or even Linklater's "Before"
franchise, but this one is different
it does not shy away from
sentimentality, romance or emotion. The film wears its heart on its
sleeve or more aptly, the screen. We feel (good and bad) right along
with the characters.
The camera only uses close-ups when it must, and instead allows the
scene and the characters to breathe. There is a simple looking, but
wonderful shot of Brian and Arielle walking through Central Park
directly towards the camera. They are in discovery mode towards each
other, and it's fascinating to listen and watch.
Anyone who fancies themselves a writer will tip their cap to no less
than eight lines that are near perfection. Being "too happy to write"
is certainly a relatable emotion, but few films feature better last
lines than this one
if only we could each be that one reader to which
the line refers. If you are open to some heartfelt sentimental romance,
then give this one a watch. If not, you'll certainly find no shortage
of reviews from caustic critics so quick to rip a film lacking in snark
Tags for 5 To 7 Full Movie
, Eric Stoltz
, Glenn Close
, Olivia Thirlby
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