Having recently turned fifty, Marion feels that she has led a so far blessed life. The well-respected Dean of Philosophy at a women's college, she is currently on sabbatical to write her latest book. Although her first husband Sam died tragically fourteen years ago from a mixture of alcohol and pills, she has recently remarried to Ken, who, married at the time, pursued her, while Ken's writer friend, Larry, also professed his love for her. She has a good relationship with her step-daughter Laura, seemingly better than Laura has with either Ken or Laura's own volatile mother, Kathy. Between her and her brother Paul, Marion always had the attention of their academic father. And she and Ken have a wide circle of friends with who they regularly and willingly socialize. But a series of incidents with these people in her life makes Marion wonder about the decisions that she's made, most specifically whether her cerebral and judgmental nature has been alienating to those around her. One of ... Written by
Whilst it is true that the tune of Gymnopédie No. 1 is played at the beginning of the film, it is not the piano version but rather the orchestral version orchestrated by Debussy. For some unknown reason, Debussy changed the numbers of the Gymnopédies: thus the orchestral version of Gymnopédie No. 3 bears the tune of Gymnopédie No. 1! See more »
If someone had asked me when I reached my fifties to assess my life, I would have said that I had achieved a decent measure of fulfillment, both personally and professionally. Beyond that, I would say I don't choose to delve.
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I just watched this last night, and I've been thinking about it all day. What an amazing film! So poignant, so subtle. A woman re-evaluates her life and begins to lament the choices she made years ago. Such a simple premise, such immense possibilities.
This film demands a lot of its audience. There is no humor, no action, and very little plot. Most people won't be into this at all, I imagine, which is a shame. This film offers a really wonderful perspective on a subject that is so very rarely addressed in films today: aging. This film is about a woman taking stock of her life at the age of fifty. She looks back, she sees the choices she made and how they turned out. She sees the compromises she made to get where she is today (very successful, head of a philosophy department, about to write another book), and she begins to appreciate, for the first time, what those compromises cost.
This is, in my opinion, the central tragedy of human existence. You only get one shot at life, and no one ever tells you how to manage it. So, you make mistakes, and one day, when you're fifty, you've finally learned enough to start making the right choices. But, by that time, is it too late? This film doesn't answer that question, at least not for its central character. But it does offer hope.
The film is propelled by several dynamite performances. But, even in such a crowded field of great performances, it is not difficult to pick out Gena Rowlands, who gives an unforgettably nuanced performance as Marion, the film's central character.
You may notice that this film is propelled by a number of coincidences. Every chance encounter, however, has an eerie relevance to Marion's soul-searching. It may look contrived, but it isn't. These aren't coincidences at all. The pregnant woman, played by Mia Farrow, is instrumental in setting up each of these 'coincidences', and that character's name is Hope. I was half-expecting a "Fight Club" revelation at the end, but it never came, which is good. This film could stand both ways, and it's better for the director to leave the audience to consider the relationship between Hope and Marion on their own. Like I said, I've been thinking about it all day.
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