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
Inevitably seeing this movie brought to mind another with a similar title, "Love And other Drugs", which was released later but I saw first. As well as titles with the same three first words, both films are based on a book (in this case a successful novel by Ayelet Waldman), are scripted by the director (in this instance, Don Roos), have an attractive and young lead actress (in this one, Natalie Portman), and deal with challenging social issues (this time, step-parenting and infant mortality). However, where "..Drugs" was a romantic comedy, "..Impossible Pursuits" has less romance and very little comedy. In fact, at times it is quite harrowing.
It works because of an intelligent script (although the dialogue is sometimes hard to follow) and some fine acting, not just from Portman - who is excellent - but Scott Cohen as her husband, Lisa Kudrow as the ex-wife, and Charlie Tahan as the troubled child of the first marriage. Many films set in New York include scenes in Central Park, but here the location is particularly well used, especially in a silent walk to remember the deaths of the unborn or newly born. The soundtrack too neatly complements the action in a work that is well worth viewing as a contrast to the standard rom-com.
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