One of the problems with casting a person for a teenage role who is actually way older, is that you get an inaccurate depiction of what a teen is really like. This is true in terms of both looks and emotion.
I admit that I've met some 18 year old girls who seemed way older. But I never saw them deal with life crises. I bet they would not have dealt with them the way a 28 year old would. Felicity Jones was much older in real life than the character she played. In reality the male lead was only 16 years older than her. But he is probably supposed to be about 25 years older.
The attractive young woman who shares the male lead's interests and passions is a symbol of the disappointment of his life. His wife cannot relate to him, and perhaps never could. She was probably just humoring his musical lifestyle when they were young.
Ironically, the young girl will probably grow up to be just like his wife. She'll want a house in the country and a husband with a steady conventional job.
Not much happens in this film. It is all innuendo and atmosphere. But both of those are done beautifully. Upstate New York looks exquisite, the shots of the beautiful young woman are artistically pleasing, and the classical music fits the scenes perfectly.
Credit is due to the actors for portraying longing, and stifling dissatisfaction with aplomb. You feel their desperation without them saying much. Having said that, I would have appreciated at least one monologue from the male about how he really feels. If he could take down his guard for a few minutes and let it all out, that would have made the film. You could still keep all the subtle moments, but let him break down once and tell us something about how it feels.
My favorite scene is when the neighbor guy cavalierly says what is on both their minds. That was refreshing. He simply states that his neighbor has a hot young thing living with him and asks him what it's like. Then he says that it would be great to be young again.
This was a piece of self-indulgent art, but certainly worth viewing if you have the patience. Great cinematography, stellar acting, and plenty of mood music.
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