A story of love and enchantment set in the coldest of winters, it explores the issues, dilemmas and barriers facing the lucky and unlucky in love in the 21st Century, based on the novel of ... See full summary »
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A story of love and enchantment set in the coldest of winters, it explores the issues, dilemmas and barriers facing the lucky and unlucky in love in the 21st Century, based on the novel of the same name by Pullitzer Prize-winning author Carol Shields. Tom is a charismatic late-night radio talk show host, whose unconventional upbringing has made him a little too quick to fall in love and marry, resulting in three divorces before the age of 40. Fay is his total opposite; her romantic ideal has not yet been attained and is unlikely ever to be due to her impossibly high expectations as a result of living with the perfection that is her parents' rock solid marriage. This unlikely pairing proves the rule that in love, there are no rules and the couple meet and fall deeply in love at first sight. All is faultless, until Fay's parents' marriage breaks down suddenly, out of nowhere, after 40 years of wedded bliss. Fay and their relationship are thrown into turmoil. Will Tom be able to persuade... Written by
This is the new offering by Deepa Mehta, most recently she of Hollywood Bollywood, a Canadian hit last year. In fact there is an `in' joke in Republic of Love and if you have seen H.B. you'll spot it. The movie is based on a book by the late Carol Shields and surmises that each of us is our own `republic'. The theme of the movie is based on `geography is destiny' and it seems so in this case.
Republic of Love is a love story between two very different people, Tom and Fay. Tom was illegitimate and his mother, we are told, suffered from post partum depression. Tom was used as a practice baby for a class of young homemakers to be and thus had his start overlooked and spoiled by 27 `mothers'. This seems to have shaped his destiny. He is now in his early 40's, married and divorced 3 times and he wonders what love really is. He gets told every night by his listeners - he is a late night radio talk and music show host - and he gets a wide range of opinions from bitter to sentimental. He is also surrounded by good relationships so why is it so difficult for him to find one that lasts?
Fay is a museum curator, never married, whose parents have been happily married for 40 years. This has shaped her destiny. She too us surrounded by happy relationships. In addition to her parents' marriage, Her brother is married with kids, her godparents have never been married but are devoted to each other. All of this perceived perfection has the effect of making Fay keep her relationships at arms' length, a little detached. They never work out because they couldn't possibly measure up to her parents' shining example. She has just pushed away her current boyfriend because he wants to move in.
Tom and Fay turn out to have several mutual acquaintances. She even knows all of his ex wives. Tom and Fay meet at a children's Halloween party and it's literally love at first sight. Tom realizes what love really feels like and she in turn, is suddenly and inexorably ready to take that leap of faith into the sea of commitment. Serendipitously, they even live in the same apartment building, two floors apart. Clearly, it's meant to be.
Ah, but why bother making a movie at all if it was as open and shut as that? Fay's parents split up out of the blue which rocks her to her core and she doesn't deal with it very well. See? Even perfect relationships don't last!
I saw it at the Atlantic Film Festival and we had a brief introduction to it by one of the producers who described the movie as being about the different colours of love, different kinds of relationships and how they work for the different couples including the dynamics between Fay and her father and Tom and his mother who found the love of her life finally at age 52.
We all know that our relationships with our parents can have a profound effect on our adult relationships with others and all that is reflected here. Not in enough detail, however. You always feel like there should be more to the story, or that some link is missing. That is often what happens when adapting a book for the screen. The performances are all very good including a delightful one by Jackie Borroughs as Tom's mother. Most of us Canadians will remember her as Aunt Hetty from The Road to Avonlea. There are one or two other faces that will be familiar to Canadian film fans (Rebecca Jenkins). The cast seems mainly Caucasian yet the background music is most definitely Indian-Asian in flavour which seemed out of place to me so many I missed something there.
It's not a bad movie, but it was predictable as well. Fay's main area of expertise at the museum of Folklore, currently, is documenting and researching sightings of mermaids, a mythical unobtainable creature of perfection. Duh. Tom works nights in an underground `city', deserted once the overhead office blocks empty for the day (Toronto's PATH system it looks like). He's out of touch with the day to day reality, comings and goings of most people he knows and aside from his producer, spends his nights talking to lonely insomniacs.
It all works out in the end. It's a love story and nobody would go to see it if it didn't. Is it worth seeing? Yes. It's a good movie, but not a great one.
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