When you combine the talents of Olivia Thirlby, Anton Yelchin, as well as Glenn Close and Frank Langella, it is hard to not feel a bit reassured that the film should be decent. Especially since Yelchin is the star and we learn he plays a young aspiring writer who gets involved in an affair. Now, tell me your interest isn’t just a little bit piqued.
Characters & Story
A 24-year-old man named Charlie (Anton Yelchin) lives alone in the city, and seemingly doesn’t do anything but write stories and collect rejections letters. That is until meeting Arielle (Bérénice Marlohe). Someone is of the age 33, married, with two children, and a former model. The two hit it off well, with Charlie using his French lessons to impress her a tad, and it comes to a point where romance becomes an option. However, with Arielle married, there comes a moral issue for Charlie. However, be it love or lust, something pushes him to not care – especially since Arielle’s husband, Valery (Lambert Wilson) is having an affair of his own.
So establishes the 5 to 7 meeting time between Charlie and Arielle, of which Charlie’s mother, Arlene (Glenn Close), doesn’t mind, but his father, Sam (Frank Langella), is vehemently against. But considering the many benefits of the relationship, like meeting his future editor Jane (Olivia Thirlby), it is hard for Charlie not to fall in love with the circumstances, as well as Arielle. Making it where when he decides he doesn’t want to simply be Arielle’s love, so comes the question of what Arielle may do?
While I in no way am praising the adultery, I must admit that watching Charlie and Arielle together made me sometimes forget that Arielle was married. For the chemistry between Yelchin and Marlohe is the type which makes you sigh and wish you could have something as passionate, on better terms of course. Though perhaps what I liked the most about those two is that they seemed on equal footing. Charlie was undoubtedly the lead, yet Arielle had enough of a life of her own in which it didn’t seem she was simply your usual love interest who builds her leading man up. Plus, I liked the fact that their romance didn’t hit that usual conflict of him doing something terrible, or her doing something terrible, and them getting back together despite it. He couldn’t take being just her lover, and she might not have been fully sure if she could support herself, and her kids, while living with an up and coming writer – making for a rather complex dynamic in the grand scheme of things. Since, ultimately, the question was: Will the romantic French woman leave the stability of her husband for the vivaciousness which comes from being with this young writer?
Perhaps the only issue which can be found deal with wanting more from Arielle. For while she does provide her own backstory, and we get to meet her children, I feel there is a certain amount of mystery left which can either be seen as alluring or frustrating.
Overall: Worth Seeing
Despite probably underselling this film, it is highly likable. Would I say it is the best of 2015? No. Do I regret taking so long to watch this? A little. But, overall what made me like this film was it approached the situation with love and humor, and seemed like that is how they wanted the film to be in general. They wanted two people, who at different times in their lives could have been perfect, to be with one another, enjoy one another, and then have it come to a point where it could no longer simply be a friendly romance, but it had to be serious. Leading to the issues of could Arielle really marry for love over stability, could Charlie win her over despite hardly having much to offer but his heart, and would they truly end up happy if they both got what they wanted? These questions, and the way Victor Levin wrote the script, are what pushes this to being a Worth Seeing film. One which I definitely recommend.
“[…] you’re a man infatuated and so nothing you say can be believed.”
— 5 to 7
“If you wanna be a good writer then you can’t have a mediocre life.”
— 5 to 7
“How can you be a sensible parent and not feel warmly towards someone who adores your child?”
— 5 to 7
“As little as you want to write when you’re happy, that’s how much you have to write when you’re miserable. Your passions have to go somewhere and this is the only place left. Your suffering has to be good for something. It’s not for me to say if the words were worth the price.”
— 5 to 7
“Your favorite story, whatever it might be, was written for one reader.”
— 5 to 7