Our Loved Ones

Our Loved Ones ★★★½

The kind of ostensibly small, yet actually quite daring film that unfortunately gets lost in the festival shuffle. Had it not been a slow night, with not much else showing in the time slot (the only notable one I can recall was Victoria, which I had already seen at that point) or for Mike D'Angelo's endorsement, I might not even have seen it. Which is a shame because it's really quite deft and moving. Its greatest achievement is that is somehow makes the tragic event both incomprehensible and completely understandable at the same time, with the film simultaneously taking the father's and family's perspective. The narrative elisions are kind of wondrous, and at first might seem non-committal—the film seems as if it skirts around the more dramatic moments—but then reveals itself to be extremely purposeful, as it lets the film takes the compressed passage of time and the impressionistic view of a life lived as its very subjects. Last 15 minutes or so are superfluous, though, and it kind of botches the ending, which is even more irritating given that—like Force Majeure, to which this otherwise bears absolutely no resemblance—it had already fashioned a nearly perfect one. The image of Laurence floating in the sea—suggesting both simultaneous danger and freedom—would have been perfect; that and the sounds of seagulls, followed by a cut to black.

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