Matt Nettheim 
Owen Gleiberman
September 11, 2013 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Adore

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
110 minutes
Limited Release Date
09/06/13
performer
Robin Wright, Naomi Watts
director
Anne Fontaine
genre
Drama

We gave it a C-

Adore has the distinction of featuring some of the most laughable dialogue in any movie this year. Lil (Naomi Watts) and Roz (Robin Wright), who are blond, lithe, and beautiful lifelong friends, are seated on a backdoor patio in their lush Australian seaside town when Lil asks, ”How are you feeling?” Roz replies, ”Good.” Lil: ”Yeah, me too.” Roz: ”Yeah, in fact, I can’t remember being this happy.” The reason this exchange is absurd to the point of giggliness is that Lil and Roz are discussing, with smirky approval, the fact that each of them is sleeping with the other’s teenage superhunk son.

Roz, who runs an art gallery and is cozily married to Harold (Ben Mendelsohn), a drama teacher, doesn’t want to follow him to Sydney for the sake of a university job. Lil, a sad-eyed widow, has never gotten back in touch with her sexuality. So the two start…boinking each other’s kids? Let’s be clear about the ludicrousness of Adore. It’s not that these two women couldn’t plausibly be carrying on hot affairs with younger men — it’s that the four characters are presented as being ”just like family,” so that the film ends up showcasing, and then winking away, its own quasi-incestuous overtones. There is also — wait for it — a suppressed lesbian dimension: The two women can’t admit to each other that they’re in love, so this is their way of connecting sensually. Adore traces the ups and downs of the two affairs over the course of years, as if it were trying to be the Brokeback Mountain of forbidden cross-maternal kink. But it’s closer to a Penthouse Forum letter shot through an art-film haze. C- (Also available on VOD)

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