If you don't want to catch "Closer" in theaters, another film about adultery is on DVD in the form of "We Don't Live Here Anymore," a riveting drama starring Mark Ruffalo, Laura Dern, Naomi Watts and Peter Krause, who all cheat on each other and end up destroying their lives.
Ruffalo and Dern play a married couple with children, Jack and Terry, who are best friends with another married couple, Hank and Edith, played by Krause and Watts. However, Jack and Edith are having a passionate affair and Terry is becoming suspicious, though the affair is not the only thing wrong with either marriage. As their marriages crumble around the truth, Terry and Hank begin to see each other, though it seems it is more out of revenge than anything else. In the end, though, this film is guaranteed not to have a happy ending - how can any family recover from something like this?
"We Don't Live Here Anymore" is a slow yet powerful drama where the characters argue a lot with one another. If that doesn't sound like your type, you might as well stop reading now. None of the characters are especially morally upstanding and so you have to pick sides with the lesser of evils. More than anything else, director John Curran does a good job of evoking sympathy for all of the characters while at the same time making us shake our heads in disgust.
What makes the film are the performances, all of which are really outstanding. Krause, the least-known actor and thus the one with the least amount of screen time, does not have much impact on the film, but the other three are very strong. Watts is good, but Dern and Ruffalo are the ones most worthy of recognition; the movie also focuses on their marriage more than Hank and Edith's. Dern, who really hasn't done many major movies since "Jurassic Park," is absolutely terrific here, while Ruffalo matches her intensity most of the way through. It is hard to really like either character, especially Ruffalo's, but the actors allow us to sympathize, or at least see their inner conflict, with them.
The movie does slow down near the end as it seems to just be biding time until its conclusion, but the last minute of the film is pretty shocking and will make for some discussions around the water cooler (assuming someone else has seen the movie, of course).
"We Don't Live Here Anymore" is not for everyone, but for those who like character dramas and excellent acting, this one should be near the top of your list. As with "The Door in the Floor," which I watched only a few days ago, this one could have benefited from being released later in the year at a time where the Academy would acknowledge this movie's outstanding performances. Alas, so goes Hollywood.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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