You should go into writer-director Neil LaBute’s latest film knowing that it plays out more or less in real time, was shot in eight days, and features top-notch performances from Stanley Tucci and Alice Eve.
Think about the film within those parameters, and remembering that LaBute likes to write about love on the periphery of power, you will find Some Velvet Morning satisfying.
I can’t tell you much about what happens without ruining what is essentially a big set up to a finale that makes everything that comes before it fall into place, but I can tell you the film starts with a beautiful woman (Velvet) stretched out on a sofa listening to music when her former lover (Fred) turns up on her doorstep after four years and announces that he has finally left his wife and has the luggage to prove it.
Let’s just say that over the next 80 or so minutes, both characters reveal a lot of passion and ambivalence and that some scary things happen, too.
Referring to a line in the film from an argument between Fred and Velvet — “When has love ever been fair?” — LaBute reveals some of his thinking on the matter in press materials.
“I think that statement probably speaks to love as a currency. The way people sometimes use their affections against another person can feel almost monetary. You know, I’m going to give you this and you give me that. Or I’m going to parcel out my feelings or I’m going to hold back saying something that I know you want to hear because I get something from that. I think that’s an interesting dynamic, and a dramatic one, and that’s probably why I’ve examined it as many times as I have.”
It is certainly a transactional approach to love, if you want to call it love.
LaBute is not afraid to examine the baser actions of people, especially men, in his films, which may not always make his work easy to watch but does position it to reveal some ugly truths worth examining…if only to know what to avoid in real life…