Intimacy (France/UK/Germany/Spain; 119min.)

directed by: Patrice Chéreau
starring: Mark Rylance; Kerry Fox; Timothy Spall
Bread and Roses
Diane says: "Finely tuned perfs by leads Rylance and Fox (her ANGEL AT MY TABLE is in my top five ever) and Spall (the Mikado in TOPSY TURVY) as the cuckolded husband. A couple who meet weekly for anonymous sex--it seems so simple!--completely misunderstand each other. The scene at the end where they try to relate had me in tears. Spall deftly walks a line so that the viewer can't be sure if he knows about the affair or not--there's a great scene where Rylance is trying to get his hackles up. And Rylance's character runs the gamut (fast-talking tough guy, sentimental dreamer, conflicted friend) perfectly. Some really great lines from the film kept pouring out of Michael and me as we drove home." 3 cats
Kevin says: "In a story-line similar to LAST TANGO IN PARIS, two strangers (both married) (played by Mark Rylance of ANGELS & INSECTS and Kerry Fox of AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE) meet every Wednesday to, pardon my French but there's no other way to describe what they do, fuck in a basement apartment building, without ever speaking. Chéreau (QUEEN MARGOT) sensitively explores the rammifications of this relationship on both parties. The sex is shockingly graphic and dogme style realistic as well as riveting. Both of the performers are fantastic as well, particularly Fox. I hope this film gets released here and I hope even more that it doesn't get chopped up by the Puritan censors. It's an important and moving work that I think has something to say about all human relationships in general." 4 1/2 cats
Laura says: "The film is punctuated with five sex scenes, each completely different in nature, all erotic. In one of the first, the two have at each other furiously, then become slowly urgent, stripping off their watches as if to stop time. Later, as Jay becomes more emotionally involved, he arranges her sleeping nude body and sits back to admire her. When she awakens, she's embarrassed. Director of photography Eric Gautier uses a hand held camera to get intimately close to the actors." 3 cats
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Michael says :"INTIMACY is based on short stories by Hanif Kureishi, and therein lies its largest flaw. There were several characters and/or situations that seemed to have been mined from various stories that didn't fit, or interrupted the flow of the main story. Two people meet each Wednesday and have sex. Their interactions are purely physical, with little or no conversation between them.

Mark Rylance (ANGELS & INSECTS) plays Jay, a divorced man, adrift and emotionally detached. Kerry Fox (AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE, SHALLOW GRAVE) plays Claire, a married woman, unsure of herself and her life. The unusual relationship they embark upon is the focus of INTIMACY. I was surprised that the story was much more meaningful than I'd expected. The performances were very strong, and the direction quite adept.

Aside from the flaw mentioned above, the other difficulty I had with INTIMACY involved points of view. For the entire first half, the audience sees things from solely from Jay's point of view. His character travels a clearly defined arc. Shortly after the mid-point, the film suddenly, even jarringly shifts to Claire's point-of view and we begin to get to know her. Not only was this somewhat startling, by film's end we know Claire a bit, but not enough. I think the film would have worked better had we never gotten to know Claire, or had we gotten to know her better.

Still, the story as presented was fairly powerful and surprisingly satisfying. The acting certainly helped to lift the movie (Timothy Spall from SECRETS & LIES puts in a strong turn as well, with the difficult character of Claire's husband... Marianne Faithful fares less well as Claire's friend and confidante, Betty). Definitely a film worth seeing. 3 1/2 cats
Nathaniel says: "Saw INTIMACY over the weekend. It really thorougly depressed me. At first, leaving the theater, I was writing it off as a minor exploration of sexual desire and relationships... but two days later -it's still really bothering me.... It's being compared a lot to AN AFFAIR OF LOVE which I really loved last year... but aside from the premise (two people regularly meet for semi anonymous sex) I don't think the films have anything in common in terms of temperament. Really good work from both lead actors."
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