Sure to be one of the most underrated films of this festival, if for no reason other than it has only one showing. I’m guessing people missed the heartfelt nature that didn’t quite come through in the trailer. A wonderful commingling of humor and serious heart considerations. A film that’s loveable because of its attention to the fine details of its characters and the warmth with which they usher in the ideas of remembrance and forgetting – sometimes beautiful, sometimes painful.
The constant struggle between what to forget and how to remember those things that matter in the course of life stretches the full length of the film. The love stories balanced herein pluck at the heartstrings of anyone who has cared for another: requited or unrequited, fulfilled or failed – because, in the end, what else need we remember?
The three separate stories that comprise the film intermingle and affect one another in gentle fashion, but all retain their unique structures and all play with memory. A young veterinarian’s best friend married the girl that the vet has watched and loved from afar since schooldays. Now they are separated and the vet wrestles with feelings of friendship and a love that never died within him. Theirs is a situation filled with a touch of the contemporary cuteness inherent in modern love stories: the casual glances that miss each other by milliseconds, the frustration of indecision and inaction, the slow reveal of friendship as a gateway to love, etc. But it is played well and leaves no bad taste in your mouth. Rather, it shows the beauty of the misunderstood; it causes the consideration of new beginnings, learning from what we cannot forget.
An older couple, each a widower, who live hours apart, share a tender love that has none of the volatility of love in youth. Theirs is a contemplative longing to be together, an understanding of what it means to be alone in light of what it means to have love. He wants her to leave her son and daughter-in-law and come live with him on his farm, to continue growing old together. She sneaks out of their house at night to be with him; they meet on the sly because her son disapproves of her dating at her age.
As the film progresses, it becomes painfully apparent that man has the beginnings of Alzheimer’s. The sad realization that he will soon no longer remember who she is leads him to send her to America with her son, where she can remember him as whole. Their love must remain beautiful only in its memory, not in what it will become.
The imagery in the film is at once simple (sometimes to a fault) and beautiful. Whether its tree or a dog, the symbolic nature of so many small pieces gives a richness to a story that might otherwise fall short of the mark. The major strength of the film is not in the acting but in the subtext, there in the white space – the interplay of idea and image, hope and reality. It is a call to be bold in love and loving, to love what you may for as long as you may, for the memory of love is as strong as the love itself.
This film: B+