So a couple weeks ago I had a chance to watch the apocalyptic love story Perfect Sense, but can’t for the life of me find a good theatrical release date. For a while, internet sources said the tenth, but then the tenth approached and it seemed to slip from the radar. As best I can tell, it’s still making the limited release run and will hit DVD in the next few months. However, it’s been up on iTunes for the last few weeks, and is still available to rent. (or ya know, you can go do illegal stuff, fall in love with the film, and then buy the Blu Ray when it comes out down the road. Aaaaaand SOPA just crushed my website for advocating piracy).
But seeing as Valentine’s Day is quick approaching, whether you rock it early this weekend or on Tuesday, staying in to watch a movie might be my three-nights-a-week date, but if you’re snowed in as we are here, might I recommend this movie, a bottle of wine, disappointing-but-cute-for-the-effort-chocolate-cheesecake and a blanket fort? (Accidentally omitted the Oxford comma. But now I’m LEAVING IT OUT FOR THE WIN)
So, the movie.
A chef and a scientist fall in love as an epidemic breaks out.
This is the premise of the gradually-released film festival-hopping apocalyptic romance featuring Eva Green and Ewan McGregor.
The epidemic first comes with a moment of grief, of mourning for everything you’ve ever lost, everyone you’ve ever hurt. There are torrents of tears before your sense of smell passes. Then, with another burst of emotion, another sense. A few weeks time: again the loss of another.
It’s simple and brilliant: In the slow parallels between finding meaning in love and the little things, as slowly the world loses grip on what was once so important and utterly taken for granted. Boy and girl are discouraged in love, find each other, something inside alights. Boy and girl go through honeymoon stage, doubt, sex, fight, fall apart, and come together again. When painted against an apocalyptic backdrop, a traditional (and yes, almost boring story, on its own), becomes so human it begins to leak humanity, those universal truths found in tender emotion.
The cinematography is beautiful. The writing takes its time, and indeed occasionally almost lapses into the sentimental, which might put a bad taste in your mouth, but for only a moment before the narration ends and the story resumes. Certainly this film could try to broaden its scope, to cover more religious angles perhaps, cultural response in the face of impending disaster, but that would be very wrong, and even the best filmmaker would struggle not to lapse into again, that sentimentality, diatribes, ramblings.
Because this is a movie about two people.
And in these two people is the world.
Through their eyes (at least for a while, do you
we watch how they cope with the loss of each sense. In the way of losing what you have, you discover the importance. Like any descent narrative, there’s revelation in loss, a world in emptiness. Perfect Sense is perfectly aware of this fact, and builds so slowly as to incorporate the viewer as a participant, to experience, to understand the slow revelation that eventually all that will be left is darkness
and for a while, touch,
and that to which you cling.
I’m not ashamed to note the tears on my cheeks in the films final minutes, but I’m not going to say this is a tear-jerker. It’s not a Pay it Forward or It’s a Wonderful Life. But this film studies a simple truth, and should you engage, be you alone or
with someone close,
it might crawl inside and do its work, reminding, steady, slowly,
that what we hold close as the world burns is, and has always been, our essence.
And in that reminder–in that experience–this movie does the truest work.
Perfect Sense is available on iTunes right now and is directed by David Mackenzie