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Despite Blake Lively’s usual charm, an uninspiring romance and the pursuit of being too artsy makes for a dull film.
|Writer(s)||Marc Forster, Sean Conway|
|Dr. Hughes||Danny Huston|
Since her early teens, Gina has been blind – after a tragic car accident. Something which, even in her later years, haunts her. Luckily, in her adult life, she has James. Someone she has been married to for an undisclosed number of years and who she lives with in Bangkok, Thailand. A place they live in after James gets a promotion at his insurance company.
Leading to the heart of the story: Thanks to Dr. Hughes, after decades of being blind in both eyes, Gina learns her sight can be restored in one. A process which is a success but has an unintended side effect – the insecurity of James. For as Gina begins changing her appearance, her clothes, wanting to change where they live, there comes the fear that Gina will want a new man too. Something her brother in law, Ramon, jokes about when they visit her sister Carla in Spain.
Thus giving us the drama aspect of the movie and the thriller portion dealing with whether or not James, in pursuit of calming his insecurities, did anything to reverse the effects of Gina’s surgery.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- James is the one who got rid of the dog Gina adopted, right? Also, did he stage that break in?
As always with Lively, it is her charm which allows her to come away a bit unscathed despite the flaws of the production she is in. For, like seen in The Age of Adaline, there is this weird mastery of being like a porcelain doll which had been broken, yet put back together with the best intentions. Let me explain: There is this innate sadness that Lively possesses that constantly makes it seem she is exasperated but trying.
Making it so, with her often playing a love interest (I didn’t see The Shallows [External] to know if this thought applies to that move), she seems like the girlfriend or wife who gives you this sense that the relationship has long seen better days. On top of that, she herself knows that she could do better. However, because she believes in love so strongly, and the beginning of the relationship was so wonderful and romantic, she sticks it out.
Something we see when it comes to her and James’ relationship, especially after the eye surgery. There is this sense of loyalty when it comes to James but it is clear she isn’t necessarily over the moon when it comes to him. Which leads to their later marital issues.
Living in Bangkok With Little To No Focus On The People
You know how some TV shows can be placed in diverse areas and not feature more than, maybe, a token minority? Well, in a similar fashion, despite most of the movie taking place in Thailand, be it neighbors, realtors, or doctors, Thai people are around, but there are less than a handful with speaking parts. Even the girl Gina dotes after, her neighbor Lucy, is a white girl.
On The Fence
The Romantic Drama
The driving force of the movie is supposed to be the changing dynamic between Gina and James. A couple who, because of Gina being blind, sort of worked. James was her husband and caretaker and with Gina reliant on him, things were in James’ favor. But, here is the thing, James doesn’t present himself as this loving husband with a cute relationship with his wife. What we more so get is this guy, likely the type Gina wouldn’t take a second glance at, who seemingly lucked out.
That attitude is what makes it hard to really feel bad for him as Gina starts changing. For, in my mind, we should feel bad for him since his wife is changing now that she has some sense of vanity. She is changing her clothes, look, wants to perhaps go out more, and can now see her other options. All of which feeds into James’ insecurities to the point you would feel bad for him if you didn’t begin to pick up that James is just some manipulative weirdo. Someone who seems like he watched Gina forever and with her being blind, he made his move since the main thing which kept him from winning over girls like her, his looks, was no longer an obstacle. So when he hears her talk about how he is different from what she imagined? Sees her getting cute? We more so see his dark side and his dweeb insecurities come about, the nice guy who never got the hot girl, versus him stepping up to be more than a sugar daddy (which I say since it isn’t made clear if Gina has a job, teaching and/or doing music, or whether that is simply a hobby).
Overall: Mixed (Divisive)
While Lively continues to be selective in her roles, and benefits from choosing a character which doesn’t present too much of a challenge or push for her, sadly the production as a whole doesn’t benefit much. For while her task as a wife is handled, when it comes to Clarke being the husband who you’d think would garner sympathy, instead he is written as a creep. One whose intentions are too thinly veiled and with there being so little reason to care about their relationship, even Gina cheating on James to a certain degree, it makes the nearly 2-hour runtime of this movie seem long.
Hence the mixed label for while fans of Lively will get what they came for, everything else about this movie may make you question if it was worth the price of admission. Especially as it decides to get very artsy, for no dang reason, and give us one of the least inspiring romances seen in a wide release for some time.