British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.
In Manhattan, twenty-two year-old Harvard lawyer Emilia Greenleaf has a crush on her boss, Jack Woolf, and they have an affair. Jack's marriage is a sham but his son, William, is his pride and joy. Emilia soon discovers she's pregnant, and Jack divorces his wife, Carolyn, in order to marry her. His son is poisoned against the partnership by his mother, and resented by his stepmother. Emilia, who has issues with her womanizer father, delivers Isabel but the baby dies. The marriage begins to suffer and William unexpectedly steps in to help. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Love And Other Impossible Pursuits (horribly changed to The Other Woman) is based on a best-seller novel of the same name by Ayelet Waldman.
In the movie, Emilia (Natalie Portman) is a young, happy, beautiful and notorious lawyer that falls in love with Jack (Scott Cohen) the man who left his first wife Carolyn (Lisa Kudrow) to marry Emilia and also give himself some new colors in life. Jack and Carolyn have a young boy, William (Charlie Tahan), which have some difficulties to accept Emilia as a new member of the family and is always influenced by his mother's tough thoughts and her lack of respect for Isabel's death, the child Emilia and Jack lost few days after her birth. Carolyn also doesn't accept the fact that her son will not have the paternal presence anymore but in the other hand can't handle Emilia's efforts to conquer William's appreciation because all her tries fails with unintentional careless attitudes.
The movie hides from the audience when, why or how Isabel died till the last moment to intensify dramatic moments and give time to plot developments, which works but some elements in the book aren't clear in the movie. The movie focuses her tough relationship with her stepson forgetting some of her problems about why she hates so much other places and people that surrounds her. Of course that we know that all her angry and hate are related to her loss, but seems like everything is just a result of her depression and not because all that she once loved remember somehow her child or her intense desires to be a perfect mother and wife with the man she loves deeply. And those are the other impossible pursuits the title talks about.
Don Roos is a great director who deals with the short thin line between human losses and the problems that come along with it, expressing human feelings in its real form never desperate to get tears from the audience with lame dramatic situations. His movies are always simple, linear and easy to understand but honest enough to make us considering how complex are human feelings and the relationship between them. That's how he succeeds with titles like his acclaimed breakthrough The Opposite Of Sex (1998) and the less known but equally good Happy Endings (2005). But here seems that things are sometimes superficial enough as an ordinary drama that succeeds but could give us a little more than is given. When everything seems simple enough suddenly he tries hard more than is concerned like the Freud-ish analysis using Oedipus parallels and relationship transferring, adding nothing solid to the plot more than a few minutes plus of some unnecessary composition.
Natalie Portman is great for sure, apathetic and cold as the character is even when sometimes her character's egocentrism and selfishness seems a little exhaustive. The same can be said about the other actors, specially Don Ross' longtime collaborator Lisa Kudrow, that once more gives some comedic situations to relieve some melodramatic sequences but suddenly is able to transform a funny performance into an absolutely emotional and delicate situation. The example of Kudrow's outstanding ability is obvious when she calls Emilia to explain the truth about Isabel's death. That scene is fantastic in its simplistic form and what give us reasons to watch Don Roos movies from the beginning to the end.
A beautiful movie, sometimes corny but effective in its purpose.
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