A Curious Double Feature

A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I caught a double feature, and in the midst of other things, I’ve neglected to write about it.

Let’s call it one to catch and one to miss. Happily, however, we saw the one to catch, The Face of Love, second and the one to miss, Enemy, first so that I was able to leave the cinema on a positive note.

Both films feature characters figuring out what is real and what is not, both have mysterious elements, and both have bankable stars. There the similarities end. One has left me musing over the terrific performances and memorable moments while the other has left me shaking my head.

Enemy stars Jake Gyllenhaal as an odd history professor who tracks down his doppelganger after seeing him in a bit part in a movie. The movie reminds me of an extremely well-crafted MFA film.

On the other hand, Annette Benning and Ed Harris (and supporting players Robin Williams, Jess Weixler, and Amy Brenneman) overcome potential story snags in The Face of Love.

Perhaps I was primed for Arie Posin’s film about a woman madly in love with her husband of many years who falls for a man who looks just like him five years after her husband’s death. I have read Joan Didion’s wrenching account of her husband’s death, The Year of Magical Thinking, and the changes she underwent following it, and her autobiographical narrative certainly nudged my willing suspension of disbelief in terms of this film.

All in all, I have certainly thought about The Face of Love repeatedly after seeing it. Annette Benning is amazing, and Ed Harris is not far behind her. Maybe that’s a sign that you should catch this in Greensboro if you missed the Winston-Salem run of the film.

The Face of Love

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