There are a lot of interesting people in this world. Every person is unique in their decisions and their emotions. More recently, we have seen an increase in the age difference in relationships. A much older man will be engaged to a much younger woman, or vice versa. There are the older women who go after younger men, known as Cougars. In both respects, this vast age gap in relationships has proved to be an interesting and odd phenomenon. In Adore, we see something of that, but it’s taken to a whole ‘nother level.
Growing up in Australia, Roz and Lil (Robin Wright & Naomi Watts) spent their days out surfing and bonding over the wilderness around them. They spent their entire childhood together and continued their friendship into their first marriages. Unfortunately for Lil, her husband died a few years after the birth of their son, Ian (Xavier Samuel). For Roz, she was always on and off with her husband Harold (Ben Mendelsohn) as they raised their son, Tom (James Frenchville). After his father’s death, Ian grew extremely close to Tom and the two bonded as their mothers had years before them. Ultimately, they grow up to be fantastic surfers who are blessed with natural good looks.
Both Ian and Tom are extremely close with each other’s mothers and they often spend time with them. As this new summer progresses, Roz and Lil reflect back on their “younger” lives and the boys get to see a new side of their moms. One day, Roz and Lil just took the time to admire their God-like sons and we get a sense that there is more behind their admiration. One night, after Tom had been injured and Lil had gone home, Ian finds himself incapable of resisting Roz and the two make love that night. Thinking that she was being secretive, Roz quietly leaves Ian’s room, only to be spotted by Tom. Immediately, Tom is overwhelmed with a multitude of emotions and rushes over to Liz’s the next morning.
Rather than telling her what happened first, he kisses her on the lips and frightens her. Although frightened at first, Liz does realize that she enjoyed it. Upon hearing what her son and Tom’s mother had done, the two release all their emotions and desires into their own love-making session. Both secrets couldn’t be kept for long and the two mothers awkwardly talk about how they feel about the predicament at hand. Although they know it’s morally wrong, they both can’t deny the newfound happiness in their lives. Thus begins the most interesting summer of their lives.
Essentially, both “couples” begin to act like actual couples, as they go on dates and spend most nights with one another. We see them all go on double dates and the mother and son relationships are almost completely eviscerated. Also eviscerated, is Roz’s relationship with Harold, whom wants to move her and Tom to Sydney for his job. In the end, she declines his offer due to her relationship with Ian. Both couples make sacrifices in their lives to keep their relationships a secret and to continue with them. However, the one thing in the back of the minds of the moms, is the fact that they’re going to get older and look older in the oncoming years. They also worry that their sons may find other women and will eventually leave them. What happens then? How will their relationships be affected if and when they stop dating each other? It’s these moral and fearful questions that drive Adore and its odd premise.
The best thing that this film has going for it are the performances that Wright and Watts turn in. They both bring fragile and confused women into places of joy and contentment. Their chemistry together is great and they also work well with each other’s sons. Their battles with morality reflect some of what you’d expect two women to think about when they are dating the other’s son. The concerns that they both bring up and the worries they have about themselves are all grounded in reality and help make this film a bit more believable. It’s a strange role to have to encompass, but I think that they both held their own!
Both of the sons did great jobs as well, as they both had to learn to accept that the other was dating their mother. At first, they’re both extremely upset at the others’ choices, but over time, they begin to get more comfortable with what’s going on and are more focused on their new relationships. Being young men, however, they are both surrounded by gorgeous women who are closer to their age and that they don’t know at all. The morality of their decisions also comes into play, as they both contemplate what they want in their futures.
As weird and as unbelievable as this film’s premise is, the cast does a pretty great job at making it ALMOST believable. I did think that each character could have had a bit more depth when it came to exploring their thoughts about their lives. I felt like Wright and Watts could have played up their characters a bit more. They seem too nonchalant about it all and that makes me doubt that they’re fine with what they’re doing. Also, three of the four of are overly willing to give up most everything for a relationship. Dynamics-wise, the relationships seemed excessively reliant on the fact that none of them ever thought about repercussions.
In the end, Adore is one of the more peculiar films that I’ve seen this year, but it’s a very well acted one at that. It’s awesome to see Robin Wright back in movies again and to see how well she works with Naomi Watts! Some aspects of the film could have been better, including moral depth, but that doesn’t take you out of the film entirely. The characters are interesting and the way that the story plays out is pretty creative and unexpected way. If you’re in the mood for something vastly different that’s somewhat uncomfortable, Adore is the film for you! If not, I suggest you listen to the song “Motherlover”, by The Lonely Island feat. Justin Timberlake! This song was in the back of my mind the whole time, as I’m sure it will be for many people. It tells a similar story in a more comical and enjoyable fashion.