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Married Life

Witty, Wise, Wonderful

“Sex,” replies Patricia Clarkson, as always beyond naïveté, when asked to define love in Married Life. It’s a great moment, early in the movie, and while Clarkson’s character does expound further, you can feel her candor shuddering through the rest of Ira Sachs’s feisty domestic drama. Set in the final autumn before the 1950s, Married Life skips the usual Leave It to Beaver chirpiness, as well as any kind of designer irony. Rather, it’s totally committed—like TV’s Mad Men—to a demystification of period moviemaking. Codes of formality still assert themselves; wives make coffee on demand and husbands are slaves to the grind. But this is also a film in which a rakish bachelor, Richard (Brosnan), can flirt openly with a widow, and his best friend, Harry (the superb Cooper), can decide to leave his wife because he’s not totally “happy.” How Harry decides to go about this—a murder by poisoning—places Married Life in the tradition of Hitchcockian melodrama, a convention that these interesting, raw performers don’t seem quite as committed to. Adapted from John Bingham’s 1953 crime novel by Sachs and Oren Moverman (a key collaborator with Todd Haynes on I’m Not There), the movie takes a rather long way around to a tired detente. Still, it’s hard to resist luxuriating in these actors’ turns, especially the underrated Rachel McAdams as Harry’s mistress, playing against vampiness. Nothing and nobody in the picture is merely decorative, but you would never expect the “other woman” to also be the wisest. - Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
Showtimes: 

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Directed by: 
Ira Sachs
Running Time: 
90
Country(ies): 
USA/Canada
Language: 
English
Starring: 
Chris Cooper, Pierce Brosnan, Patricia Clarkson, Rachel McAdams, David Wenham
Screenplay by: 
Ira Sachs, Oren Moverman

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