Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: Certified Copy

A local owner of an antique art store plans a meeting with a British writer, whose book "Cerified Copy" is about whether art is authentic or simply a fake. After meeting in her small Tuscany village, they decided to go to the countryside, as they have similar interests. Along the way they discuss the importance of different things, from art to her sister, and her supposedly authentic husband. Once they get to the village, and are mistaken for married couple by a local owner of a coffee shop, they continue to  keep up the charade, and throughout the rest of the film, it grows and grows until the point where you can't tell whether they are still faking it, or whether they truly are an original.

Certified Copy isn't a bad movie, in fact it has an incredible number of redeeming qualities. First of all, the two leads Juliette Binoche and William Shimell, are engaging, easily diving through a dense, yet intellectual script, and making us believe both the fact that they are strangers, but in the end making us believe that they truly are married. Furthermore, director Abbas Kiarostami, beautifully shoots the Tuscan countryside, utilizes long gazes on his actors faces so that you can see their emotion, and also lets the scenes play out without too much interruption, so as to let his actors truly dissect the script, and be themselves at the same time.

In many ways, Certified Copy is absolutely brilliant, however, it failed to really impress me that much. I get the point that it is a charade, but the ending leaves so much to be desired that you wonder why even pay the $6.50 (Matinee) to get into the theater at all. It is not that I do not understand its premises, its deep metaphors about human relations, and the comparisons between his book, the painting in the museum, his sister's husband and their so-called "marriage". However, I also want the movie to engage me, and leave me wanting more, neither were true of this film. Furthermore, while I am all for ambiguous endings, as they make the viewer think, I am only to a certain point, where the end point is not as important as this one should have been. I understand that Kiarostami probably meant to end it that way, as he has always been a talented director, but this particular one made us feel cold and unsure of great questions revolving around most films, why? Certified Copy, while emotional, feels like it is meant for a sociology class in order to dive into the complexity of human relations, and not for movie goers who want to become engaged with the story. The problem is that there is little storyline, and it is hard to care for characters who are simply pretending the entire time. In the end, while I understand the film's praise, and would love some Oscar attention for it's two leads, I left feeling empty and unsatisfied.

Grade - C+

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