Sunday, January 20, 2013

Slamdance - Between Us (3 stars)

From  In this darkly comedic drama, two couples reunite over two incendiary evenings where anything can happen. Grace and Carlo are a newly married New York couple who visit their old friends Sharyl and Joel in their huge Midwestern home. Despite their wealth, the hosts are in a bitterly destructive marriage. A few years later, the couples reunite in New York, but the tables are turned as the young couple struggles with parenthood and finances, only to discover their old friends even more successful and much happier than before.

It took a little while to get into this.  At first I didn't care much for either couple.  But as the movie progressed I started to get interested in them and their struggles.  The movie flashes back and forth between the two time periods.  One minute, Sharyl and Joel are screaming at each other, the next minute we are in New York watching Sharyl and Joel getting along great while Grace and Carlo's marriage is falling apart.

I don't know if the jumping back and forth in time aspect worked so well.  At times it bugged me.  I would like to see this movie edited chronologically.  Jumping back and forth between the time periods makes it apparent how easy it is for a happily married couple to become so unhappy, and vice verse.

This movie could easily be a play, since it only takes place in two settings - each couples' living rooms - and the entire movie is dialogue.  The performances were really good, especially Julia Stiles and David Harbour.  I have seen Harbour in other movies, but this is a star making performance.  I just wish I enjoyed the movie a bit more.  It's a tough one to recommend.  You're basically watching married people fight the entire time.  I admire the writing but it's not a crowd pleasing movie.

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