Sunday, May 29, 2011

"Certified Copy"

In Tuscany to promote his new book, middle-aged British writer James Miller (William Shimell) is taken for a ride in the country by a gushing fan - a charmingly authentic French woman named Elle (the luminescent Juliette Binoche.) They debate the thesis in his book about copies of fine art having value. He argues that even a copy is a work of art. It is all a matter of perception. "Copies have worth because they lead us to the original." To lighten things up, she takes him on a day trip to the village of Lucignano where young couples go to get married and pledge their undying love. At a coffee shop, the owner compliments Elle on her "good husband" when he leaves to answer his cell. Angry at her real life husband, Ellie takes advantage of the mistake to vent about her husband's many faults. James returns and they keep up the pretense.  They both fall easily into their roles of a couple who has grown apart. The presence of adoring newly wed couples shines a harsh light on their relationship. James complains to Elle that it's unreasonable for her to expect for them to act the same as the young married couples.

"Certified Copy" seems to suggest that relationships, like art, are a matter of perception. James squawks when Elle insists that a statue of a woman leaning her chin on a monster's shoulder is a masterpiece. But a wise, older man explains to James that all Elle needs is for him to put his hand on her shoulder as they walk – to have the perception of being connected. Like the copies of the great masterpieces, this copy of a marriage has worth as long as it leads them back to the original.

"Certified Copy" by renowned auteur Abbass Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry) is a smart, enchanting romance about marriage and the true course of love. Juliette Binoche (deservedly) won Best Actress at Cannes for her vulnerable, sensual portrayal.

Movie Blessings!
Jana Segal

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