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Don't read unless you've seen the movie - huge SPOILER!
nikubo6 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
++++++++++++++++Spoiler Alert+++++++++++++++++ Half the other reviewers just didn't get it - this is a very good movie with a trick ending that ties all story lines together wonderfully. Most of the negative reviews were written by people that missed the entire point of the movie. Without going into great detail on the three (really four) story lines this is the hook: all the story lines are simply imagined by the author character (Liam) as he composes his novel.

A prize-winning author is in Paris working on a novel, having just suffered through the death of his young son in a swimming pool accident. The movie starts and ends with him at his desk in a hotel room - the opening scene fades out with a faint "watch me" heard (imagined) by the author. The movie ends with the same scene, but now we know the "watch me" was uttered by his son just before he died in the swimming pool. We even meet his son at the end, the little boy sitting on the fountain. Everything from the opening scene to the ending scene all took place in the author's head as he sat in the hotel writing his novel. The story lines and their characters are simply the author rationalizing away his guilt for the death of his son. As he realizes that all his characters are manifestations, twisted sometimes, of his own psyche, he alters them, going so far as to entirely remove them from his novel. Thus we have the lawyer finally diving into the pool and disappearing, (as he removes her from the narrative) and slowly all the other characters just disappear, as he removes them from the book. Even his publisher is a figment of his imagination, a character created when he realized that his writing was becoming jaded, and far too close to his own life.

That's it. The key to understanding this movie is to realize that everything between the opening and closing scenes all took place in the author's head as he worked on his novel. As he came to terms with his son's death, the characters he drummed up disappeared, each created and played out as he worked to soothe his inner guilt. My two cents!
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The kind of artistic effort we don't see enough of.
Rogermex11 July 2014
This is an excellent human drama. Any of the negative reviews you see about it are basically coming from a "dumbing down" stance. Like . . (duh) WHY is this director trying to be so intellectooul?" It's a damned clever piece of work, and we don't get that much any more in this age of comic book movies.

It is also VERY moving, and finely acted. Watching Olivia Wilde's character, I kept thinking, wow such a "borderline" case, then we find out precisely WHY she's such.

You should go see this and bring your brain with you. Don't tell anyone else what it's about or what the spoilers are, and I'm not either.

"White" - the color of trust, and belief, and lies.
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kosmasp23 September 2014
Paul Haggis did it again. At least for me he did. Obviously judging by the low rating, it hasn't had the same effect on others here. I really loved the movie, the intricacies, the connections and of course the "resolution". There might be a better word for the ending, but one thing is for sure: The movie demands more than one viewing. You can watch it with different eyes (your own, just a matter of speaking) and see things in a new light.

There's also trademark Haggis dialog, pointing in one direction, making fun of it, by almost straying away, than going full throttle on the first assumption you made. You may or may not like that, but it's what Haggis can do very good. And he has the actors to pull anything off, he gives them. It's a great movie with little hints here and there, that make sense in the end. Even if you don't get everything the first time around, it is a rewarding (viewing) experience
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Hints and spoilers - the movie is fabulous!
tcristiant-112 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
=========== SPOILER ============

Quote: "But the movie has a big flaw. The link between the stories is rather weak ( I still have no idea how Adrien's story was linked with the rest of them, when this movie releases for all audiences someone will maybe find that link )."

Hint: Adrien's son drowned in the pool, because the father (Adrien) took a call - telling his wife that it is a business call. Liam's son drowned in the pool, because his father (Liam) took a call - in fact it was a call from his mistress.

By such things imaginary stories linking with the real story of Liam, who has lost a child.

It is actually the contents of the book he writes, tormented by thoughts of guilt for the death of the child and how Liam wants to save his soul.

Regarding the "wrong placement of objects" - Liam wrote from Paris? NO! In the final scene the wife asks "How is Rome?" ... And during the chase it's looks like the streets of an Italian city, not Paris...

It is about the writer's imagination, attempt to justify, accepting the mistake, etc.

Actually the film is about the soul and mind of a man tormented by the death of his child because he was on the phone with his mistress and not supervised at the pool.
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Blurred Lines
3xHCCH20 June 2014
Paul Haggis is best known as the director of the movie "Crash", which was the controversial winner of the Oscar for Best Picture in 2006 over its closest rival "Brokeback Mountain." Haggis is also the first screenwriter to win Oscars for Writing for two consecutive years, "Million Dollar Baby" in 2005 and "Crash" in 2006. It was the name of Paul Haggis that drew me to check out "Third Person" without knowing anything else about it.

Like "Crash", "Third Person" is also a film with multiple story lines. I have liked movies like this since I have seen "Amores Perros" and "21 Grams." I have admired how the scriptwriter managed to clearly tell three or four stories and then connect them to each other with an overarching bigger story.

Michael (Liam Neeson) is an aging Pulitzer-prize winning author who left his wife Elaine (Kim Basinger) and is now having an affair with a much younger Anna (Olivia Wilde) in Paris. Scott (Adrien Brody) is an unscrupulous clothing businessman who gets entangled with the shady financial problems of a gypsy-like local lady Monika (Moran Atias) in Rome. Julia (Mila Kunis) is a poor divorcée who lost custody of her young son to her estranged husband Rick (James Franco) because of an unfortunate accident with a plastic laundry bag.

It was good to see Liam Neeson again in a straight drama, not in another action vehicle that he is wont to do lately. Olivia Wilde is daring, gorgeous and smart, the perfect femme fatale. Mila Kunis stands out in a very serious dramatic role. Her brutally-emotional confrontation scene with James Franco was amazingly acted out. In terms of romantic chemistry though, the best was between Adrien Brody and Moran Atias. Their story line was interesting on its own, but seemed furthest off from any connection with the other two stories.

The underlying issue and conflict in all three stories was about trust. Anna's bizarre behavior is driving Michael nuts about her loyalty. On the other hand, Michael is using their stormy relationship as the subject of his book seemingly without Anna's consent. Monika's connection with a sleazy extortionist has Scott doubting her innocence. Rick cannot trust Julia anymore with even basic visitation rights to their son.

Even at the two hour mark, the three stories seem to be slowly losing their steam and getting nowhere without any detectable connection to each other. However, just as I was losing hope as to this film's ability to end properly, suddenly comes a most surprising development that actually manages to solidify the three disparate segments of this film into a single coherent whole. Paul Haggis has done it again to weave his magic with this inventive type of story telling via film.
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Great acting, artsy film, unique and very interesting
lboyajianpatterson10 July 2014
This is not the movie for everyone, but I loved it. The acting is superb and the story is not your formula Hollywood blockbuster. It is a unique and interesting story, that will hold your interest the entire time, always unsure of the outcome.

The subject matter is a bleak but the characters are true and real. Kim Basinger after hearing something that would drive most women away, asks her husband to come home. Twists, turns, but in the end, it all makes sense.

Not the movie for just anyone. If you want a schlock Hollywood feel good movie, go see the delightful new Rob Reiner film 'And so it goes'

but as for me, this is head and shoulders over that.

Phooey to the bad reviews
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Third person interpretation
Anne-Maree Austen9 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
After reading various reviews, the interpretation of the film being about Liam's Neeson's novel seems to be quite accurate. He uses the characters of his book to symbolise his guilt and the significance of 'trust' through different situations. Towards the end of the film as the characters disappear, this reinforces the idea they are only a figment of his imagination.

Mila Kunis's character is symbolic to Liam as he feels overwhelming guilt due to the death of his child. This particular situation shows what may have been Liam's life had the child lived as there is no trust, she is severely hurt and depressed as she is unable to see her son. The scene where Mila breaks the flower vases symbolises the significance of 'white' being the colour of trust and lies and she feels she is not trusted. The significance of the affair that Liam's character has is also along the same lines as this manic and complicated woman he loves only feels comfortable with married men as she can leave when she wants and she can't be hurt, the theme again being trust. Perhaps the older man she sees through the film is in fact her father which shows the complicated relationship she has had and the pain she has feel as she cannot trust men even her own father, yet she is drawn to him in need for forgiveness. As she accepts her love for Liam's character and begins to be more vulnerable to the idea of love, her emotions show her sorrow and she is finally able to say goodbye to the dependence she has for the older man and is now devoted to Liam. The American thief is responsible for his child's death and craves her voice to live on. When he is conned by the Italian woman, this again has the theme of trust as he trusts too easily and this woman will do anything to get out of the situation she is in with what looks like a non-existent predicament with her daughter. finally when the American man is out of money giving away everything he has, he must wait to see if the woman will return despite his lack of money. She does return and they are able to live life aware of each other's faults and flaws, something he needs given his role with the death of his child. This is something his ex-wife is unable to forgive him for and therefore they had no chance of staying together. He must move on.

The characters parallel Liam's life and the different paths he could have taken. From my interpretation, the affair was part of his imagination created for his novel and his wife worries that while he is away in Rome to write his novel, he may have an affair as he is a romantic. This is why she says "is she there" but he responds with no she isn't in a confusion of reality and the story of his novel.

The recurring "watch me" said by the son is driving the creation of Liam's novel as he remembers the trust his son had and the moment (may have been an accident) where he dies. *Note the idea of white being symbolic is seen through Liam's lover wearing a white dress, the flowers, the colour of milk as Mila's son convinces his father she should be trusted.
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We actually didn't realize how good it was until we thought about it.
fbcnova6 November 2014
If you see a large number of user reviews with spoilers it's because this movie has a complex story line that is hard to describe without spoiling the suspense and confusion that one experiences while watching it for the first time. Don't read the spoilers until after you see the film or you will rip yourself off. My partner and I saw it at the Rehoboth Beach film festival and really didn't know exactly what to think at the end of the movie. We had both been engrossed and intrigued but felt unsatisfied at the end… until we were discussing it on the way home and figured out what we had just seen. The most popular spoiler alert review nails the plot, but suffice to say that this is no typical "I can see were this is going" movie, it was almost "I see dead people but they don't know they are dead" kind of realization, only for us, we didn't get it until a half an hour after the movie was over. We actually didn't realize how good it was until we thought about it. I would recommend it and I will watch it again to tie up all the clues given along the way.
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My theory
Koko Up22 March 2015
I really want to know if somebody else understood the movie the way I did. I thought that the writer (Liam Neeson) created all the characters in the movie, like he was writing about all of them, and they don't really exist, they just exist in his book. I say this because Mila Kunis is in the same hotel but like in a modern way, but they are the roses and the notebook. Also The lawyer of Mila speaks with Adrien Brody her ex husband and say to him that she will never forget him because their daughter die because of his fault. Also, Liam Neeson says that he is writing a book about a lot of personalities, I don't know if you can understand me but this was the say I understood the movie, thanks :)
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'Watch me'
gradyharp9 October 2014
Paul Haggis both wrote and directed this very long movie (137 minutes) that plays with our minds in a way not dissimilar to his most famous similar film CRASH. The quilted story takes patience and close attention to paste each of the three running stories together – three (at times augmented) couples whose lives are altered in some way by a child – drowning, abusive by placing in a plastic bag, a conveniently imagined child – and it all ties together with slips of paper, pages of novels, paintings and other threads spread around Paris, Rome, and New York.

'Michael (Liam Neeson) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction author who has sequestered himself in a hotel suite in Paris to finish his latest book. He recently left his wife, Elaine (Kim Basinger), and is having a tempestuous affair with Anna (Olivia Wilde), an ambitious young journalist who wants to write and publish fiction. At the same time, Scott (Adrien Brody), a shady American 'clothing designer' businessman, is in Italy to steal designs from fashion houses. Hating everything Italian, Scott wanders into the Café American with barkeep Marco (Riccardo Scamarcio) in search of something familiar to eat. There, he meets Monika (Moran Atias), a beautiful Romanian woman, who is about to be reunited with her young daughter. When the money she has saved to pay her daughter's smuggler Carlo (Viinico Marchioni) has stolen, Scott feels compelled to help. They take off together for a dangerous town in Southern Italy, where Scott starts to suspect that he is the patsy in an elaborate con game. Julia (Mila Kunis), an ex-soap opera actress, is caught in a custody battle for her 6 year-old son with her ex-husband Rick (James Franco), a famous New York artist. With her support cut off and her legal costs ruinous, Julia is reduced to working as a maid in the same upscale boutique hotel where she was once a frequent guest. Julia's lawyer Theresa (Maria Bello) has secured Julia one final chance to change the court's mind and be reunited with the child she loves. Rick's current girlfriend Sam (Loan Chabanol) is a compassionate onlooker.'

With a cast such as this the film works as well as it can with such obtuse twists and turns involving each of the three couples. The film 'feels' like it wants to be wonderful, but it just plods along too slowly to make us care very much about this odd groups of maladjusted misfits.
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Clever, surprising, and underrated drama
noobshotpro23 January 2014
When I received an invite to go to the screening of Third Person, I was a bit uncertain whether this would be a decent flick or not. I hadn't seen any trailers or read articles about it so I did not know what to expect.

Third person is a film from Paul Haggis ( the director of the Oscar- winning "Crash") involving intertwining stories featuring Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, Adrien Brody, Mila Kunis, James Franco, Maria Bello, Moran Atlas and Kim Basinger.

Having not seen Crash, I hadn't raised my expectations to spectacular levels. Maybe this is why Third Person is getting a mediocre score, people simply compare it with Crash and not as an individual movie.

Let me begin by stating that the atmospheric feel of the movie is top notch. Whether it is the chic, extravagant life-style in Paris, the beautiful and not-so beautiful side of Rome or the busy streets in New York, every city is portrayed in a beautiful way. The soundtrack is okay and fits with the mood of the scenes.

The acting is , how could it not be with this cast, top-notch ! Especially Mila Kunis surprised me with her emotionally depth, a side of her that we don't see a lot in her movies.

Of course, with different intertwining stories, people will argue which one is the best of the bundle. Let me make this clear : Each story is very intriguing and has plot twists that I did not see coming. You could feel everyone staring with great surprise at the screen when major twists came.

For me, the best story was the part with Adrien Brody and Moran Atlas. They had the best chemistry in the movie, with a very interesting dilemma. It had the funniest and most-thrilling moments ( according to me of course, the others are very well made as well, this is truly a matter of personal taste ).

But the movie has a big flaw. The link between the stories is rather weak ( I still have no idea how Adrien's story was linked with the rest of them, when this movie releases for all audiences someone will maybe find that link ). The wrap-around at the end was very, very confusing and didn't make a lot of sense. It was surprising , yes, but really no- one understood what the ending meant for the story. But I think that if this movie gets analyzed and someone clearly explains it's ending, my appreciation for this movie would certainly be of the roof.

I'm not the type of guy who volunteers to watch a romantic drama, I even dread the thought of watching another chick-flick/tear-buster with the girlfriend. But this drama pulled me into it's story with fantastic performances from an awesome cast, good writing/directing for each storyline and a fine balance between drama, romance and humor.

And for that great achievement, this movie deserves :

7,5 /10
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A Third Person Seemed To Be Too Much For This Tale To Handle
FilmMuscle25 July 2014
Third Person seeks to explore the betrayal of trust—the betrayal of fidelity and friendship. Paul Haggis, the director, has made a career out of making films that interweave numerous story lines. In this case, Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, Adrien Brody, Mila Kunis, and James Franco all comprise a wonderful ensemble that demands a range of powerful emotions to drive this story through its incessant melodrama (no negative connotation applied). The narrative here focuses on the romantic relationships and affairs that unfortunately still plague society and humanity's untamable nature. I'm sure we all know the implication of the film's title ("Third Person"), and with that, the drama goes on an almost two-and-a-half-hour drive through tense dialogue, flirtation, and sexy teases.

The movie teases and teases but never seems to reach the climax that its lengthy build-up continually suggests. Its first hour is fairly compelling in its set-up, deliberately introducing the audience to the exact predicament and its hapless participants. The plot over the rest of the film unravels quite cryptically, as well as in a manner that might appear heavily contrived to many viewers. There is a certain degree to which a suspension of belief should absolutely be mustered upon entering this picture. Aside from the contrivances, moments exist within that play to extreme dramatic effect but actually lead to a whole lot of nothing. After a great deal of meticulous development, a character screams and terrorizes a room out of realized anger as a tragic score plays to the segment's tune even though that scene essentially has no consequence in the sequences that follow (the character simply returns to a former state) as if the filmmaker was stylishly proceeding towards tragedy and quickly mopping up soon thereafter.

The actors themselves do a fantastic job and glue us to the screen albeit the script's occasional muddling of the conflict at hand. Adrien Brody, in my opinion, is the standout here, possessing a complex personality that battles between moral decisions and his wild desires. The writing in the first few scenes of his arc—we find him in a bar having a natural conversation with a mysterious woman (Moran Atias) as we immediately discern his dislike for foreign environments (particularly Italy) and his highly talkative, forceful nature. Olivia Wilde and Liam Neeson share the screen in probably the most compelling storyline where Neeson's strong infatuation for Wilde lends itself to perfidy and constant ridicule. Wilde's character plays a hard-to-get, but incredibly seductive, "sexpot" who tests Neeson's true loyalty to her while he starts to construct his next novel. Mila Kunis' part of the tale is definitely the least intriguing in its somewhat clichéd essence— she's bouncing from job to job, barely able to pay her monthly bills and struggling to reclaim her kid who was taken from her based on accusations of abuse.

Like I said, all of these individual threads in an interlocking story initially engross, but then, Third Person starts to drag on and on. It sits at a runtime of 2 hours and 17 minutes but honestly feels like it's reaching the 3-hour mark. The connection between these separate stories begins to materialize the further we advance into the plot while also shadowing it with plenty of confusion at the same time. The last scene is a head-scratcher…in a bad way. You're scratching your head because that "da dumb" twist moment unintentionally goes over everyone's head and falls flat in its execution. So, wait: how are they exactly connected thematically and emotionally? All I witnessed was a multitude of contrivances that saw these characters crossing each other's paths for a few seconds. Of course, there's a reason to all this once the very end comes to fruition, but the point of the entire ordeal sorely misses its mark. There's too much going on with the quick cutting intensifying as we progress, and none of the arcs conclude satisfyingly.

With that being said, I still respect Haggis' ambition and his ventures into such heart-rending tales. Contrary to general reception, I genuinely enjoyed Crash, and now, I most likely find myself enjoying Third Person more than most as well. It's primarily absorbing throughout, just a tad bit too long and woolly.
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Well-intentioned but Forced
rm_77726 September 2013

Paul Haggis has a heavy burden after winning Best Picture at the Oscars with "Crash," as high expectations have soon formulated any time he creates an interwoven story. Third Person, with its stellar cast and beautiful scenery, amplifies the hype, but unlike its predecessor, it doesn't deliver.

Third Person tells three love stories, featuring unrelatable caricatures. Liam Neeson is a Pulitzer-prize winner author, who smokes cigarettes in darkness and slams his Macbook when ideas don't seamlessly flow to him (people do that?). Olivia Wilde is a charming though emotionally-detached single-in-the-city gal. Adrian Brody is an American in Rome who detests the culture yet thrives in stealing. James Franco is artist-son of wealthy New Yorkers… really? The characters often lack chemistry and their development often seems forced to fill the 'love du jour' trend of love-then-fighting-then love again. The performances are uninspiring, with the exception of Mila Kunis, who plays an ex-soap opera star and single mother trying to get her life back together.

Haggis spent many years crafting this film, but he had to verbally inform the audience of many of the interwoven intricacies. The film will appeal to the New York liberal intellectual crowd who thrive on 'complex' characters, but ultimately, this movie is all sizzle, no steak.

After the TIFF movie premiere, Haggis candidly stated that for the film he had difficulty attaining financing until the last minute. Perhaps this was an omen.
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Third Person: A Different Take
emilyelizabeth128312 July 2014
Liam Neeson plays Michael, a writer. His eyes are curiously and deceptively filled with feeling and warmth even as his character plays out as a "sociopath" who has trouble feeling anything genuine toward other people. Yet, he is obsessed with the creation of emotion, as if the suspension of love in mid-air between two people is his home and friend. His mind is similarly disembodied. He feels need for love, especially when he is deprived of his lover's presence, but the actual presence of that body works to quickly diffuse the passion that is powerful in theory but thrives on it's staying in that theoretical strata. Michael has found a way, through his writing, to cope with this absurd existence. He finds the answer to his addiction in the creation of fiction using people in real life. He lets life naturally play out around him, provoking into being both the subtle and blatant forms of passion, romanticism, divine emotion and drama, then filters these experiences onto paper, choosing only the best parts, and throwing away the rest. Including any irrelevant parts of himself. In this way, he chooses to live his own life in a half-existence, desperately clinging to the divinity of love while denying the bitter absence of his ability to express it genuinely. 'Genuinely' is the key word here. Surely delivering hundreds of white roses to the bedroom of his lover Anna, (played by Olivia Wilde), is beyond romantic. But for Michael it is an act of intellect, not passion. It is a tool used to evoke the necessary catalyst, letting life display action, and funneling the magic into his own words.

Anna is a woman and entity that is completely unique in relation to anyone else in the movie and expresses a shade of mentality that I've never seen in a film so clearly. Within the life spans of each character prior to the timeline of the film is a catastrophic event involving either children or themselves as children. This is a line of storytelling that is evenly and thoroughly paved, on which it is typically easy to carry an audience. Because of such and such event in one's childhood, this character turned out to be this and this. The audience willingly nods to almost any such explanation that follows this logic; the more messed up, the more believable. Anna's case certainly gives her some degree of excusability in this story, though that concept is for another time and another debate. Incredibly, this event, though strong and controversial, does not outshine the vivid expression of her mentality through her actions prior to the unveiling of this childhood/adulthood disaster. She is blunt, cold and incredibly sadistic when it comes to attacking Michael. She is spontaneous, child-like and in considerable anguish. She is excited by the same game that Michael is, and this is what holds them together through the poisonous collisions with the sterility of every-day life. There game is fun, sexy. The fact that in their spontaneous role-play they are acutely aware of the other's true mentality builds a mutual sexual excitement; they can't wait to see how the story will turn out this time, whether it leaves Anna naked in the hallway of a hotel, or hundreds of flowers left in her empty room. The plain of existence could go on exponentially from here in satisfaction for Michael, but for Anna there is a step further down that makes her existence with Michael inhospitable. She is aware and ashamed of her acidic behavior towards Michael, and she has settled into a resolution of consistent punishment for those actions; at least she is trying very hard to. Michael makes this wish impossible in his equally consistent forgiveness for the sake of not losing his muse. As a result, Anna is catapulted into despair as she does not receive the intake of pain and rebuke she expects, resolute that she in no way deserves forgiveness or love; both of which she has long since destroyed within herself. Confronted with a room full of roses, she is helpless to respond in any way other than crawling, slowly and humbly, back to her indestructible lover...
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Pretentious & Melodramatic
Larry Silverstein2 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
If you'd like to torture yourself for over 2 hours, then watching this movie might do the trick. Despite its' all-star cast, I just found this film to be loaded with pretentiousness, over-the-top melodrama, and contrivances so thick you could choke on them.

The plot evolves around various personal stories playing out in Rome, Paris, and New York City, that will eventually all interconnect in some way. I'm no genius, but the dramatic twists and turns that take place in these stories, I seemed to be able to telegraph a mile away.

In addition, the characters become so unlikable that I lost interest in what would happen to them long before the movie was over.

In the end, I even felt that the writer and director Paul Haggis, who's known for highly dramatic films such as "Crash" and "Million Dollar Baby", was "playing games" with the viewer's heads, and very little turns me off more in watching a film than that. In my view, a big disappointment from Haggis.
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Quantity does not necessarily quality make
Harry T. Yung12 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
There are, crudely, 3 stories in 3 cities (New York, Paris, Rome). Within them, you have 4 kids (real or imagined, dead or alive), 2 tragic accidents that are almost identical, 2 situations of well-intentioned but atrocious parenting, 2 obvious love stories, 3 couples estranged because of kids. I have probably missed a whole lot more. Unfortunately, quantity does not necessarily quality make. Paul Haggis seems to want to surpass "Crash", a bar set not too high because that movie has been over-rated. But even for that mundane task, "Third person" falls flat on its face. It is pretentious and manipulative, like a cheap magic trick that can be seen through after a few glances.

The good things about this movie all belong to the distinguished cast. Members of this large ensemble have done their best with the material they have been given, shallow characters written with pretentious ambiguity that is hoped to impersonate depth.

Taking a refreshing break from nail-biting action, Liam Neeson displays his melancholy charm as a famed writer toiling in a hotel room in Paris, but seems to have lost his muse. Olivia Wilde plays the go-getter that slips in and out of the roles of muse, protégée and sex interest. Note I have not used the term "love interest" although love sort of comes into the picture towards the end, sort of. By the way, exquisitely lovely Wilde, in more ways than one, slips in and out of other things too, you'll be delighted to notice. Kim Basinger, at one time the most seductive object that appears on a sliver screen, plays his estranged wife with less than 5 minutes of screen time, all on the phone.

In Rome, Adrien Brody plays an industrial spy who has just successfully accomplished a job and, killing time in a bar, bumps into adventure unsought. This starts when in walks a mystifying Gypsy beauty played by Moran Artias. This is the one story that gets into the underworld.

In New York, Mila Kunis who served notice to the movie world in "Black Swan" as the aggressive young dancer (who threatened Natalie Portman into winning an Oscar), transforms amazingly into a world-wearied mother of a seven-year-old whom she is not allowed to see allergically due to child abuse. James Franco, playing the husband unyieldingly protecting their son, shows the darkest side of his screen persona you have yet seen. Maria Bello is the woman's lawyer for the case but has her own story too, through the most tangible interconnection in this movie later revealed. As a matter of fact, all the characters in this movie have their own stories other than those that meet the eye.

At the end of the day, however, despite some good acting, the movie is shallow, hollow and forever contriving.
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That kind of movie that you love more when you get it.
Mari -28 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I loved the plot and also the actings, and I truly don't understand the low reviews. I mean, of course it is not an easy film to watch, sometimes it fails to keep your attentions because it does develop slowly and most parts you don't get it right away... But it is a great movie, intelligent and with amazing actings. I confess I didn't get all the points right away and had to do a little research afterwards, but when I got it all, the story became even more beautiful. I gathered some of those points I found important to understand to be able to evaluate the movie properly, so if you don't want spoilers DON'T READ BELOW HERE.

*******SPOILER ALERT*******

1. The writer was NOT in Paris writing his book; he was in Rome. Maybe some people missed this detail (as I did), but when his wife calls him, in the final scene, she asks him, "How's Rome?". And also you can clearly see he's sitting in a café in an Italian city.

2. Everything that happens between the starting scene, when he hears his son's voice on the hotel room "Watch me," and the same voice "Watch me" in the final scene of the film, is part of his book -- including the story about the writer in Paris with his lover. Probably his mistress name was not Anna, and we can notice that she is fictional by how idealized (at least partially) she is: young, pretty, and with sense of humour, and perfect.

* Remember that he always writes in Third Person (not by chance, the name of the movie).

** Perhaps Paris did happen, but not during that time space we are watching the movie. Maybe months ago... Note that his wife calls him twice and both times she asks: "Is she there?", and he always answers "No" -- in the final scene, he still adds "She left me two months ago".

*** Note the references to white in each story: Anna's dress in the final scene is white, the glass of milk the child gives his father is white, and the car in which the American drives away with the gypsy lady is also white. "White the color of trust. And the color of the lies he tells himself" -- says the end of the book.

3. As he atones for his sins through the characters from his book, we know what really happened going from there:

  • In real life, he loses his lover when she learns that it was because of her call that his son drowned; in Paris' story, his mistress ("the only true love of his life") comes back to him.

  • In real life, he loses his son; in Italy's story, the American saves the gypsy lady's daughter (note that inside the car they look back and smile, and as the camera goes away you can see the silhouette of a child in the back seat of the white car).

  • In real life, he never wins back the trust of his ex-wife; in the story with Mila Kunis, James Franco trusts her again after the incident in the elevator.

* Also note the references to bad fathers in each story:

  • In Italy, the American also lost his son.

  • In New York, the boy's father is absent and always working, and they do not have a close relationship.

  • In Paris, the father used to abuse of Anna, probably since she was a child.
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The Most Powerful Character Drama I can Remember
johnptomai13 November 2014
"Third Person" is the most powerful character drama I can remember seeing in many years. The characters are well developed -and slowly developed in detail. Each of them are uniquely human, with deeply rooted emotional motives. As the yarn unwinds we learn more about each character and begin to wonder about how their stories will ultimately collide. The success of this story lies in a cast of well developed character studies, portrayed by actors performing at the top of their game, scripted by a writer -who's style reels us in scene by scene, compelling the viewer to relate to, and ultimately 'care' about where the story is going. Ultimately, we are awarded with a conclusion delivered in a climactic "bang". The conclusion of this movie is notable, including some of the most raw human emotion and absolutely raw fertile ground for provoking emotion in the viewer as I have ever seen recently on screen.

If you like character dramas that unwind like a slow yarn and delivers the goods in the end, you wont be disappointed.

Two Big Thumbs up for this excellent Character Drama.
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Thanks Nikubo for your review, you made my day
sylviayasming6 November 2014
I was disappointed when I found so many bad reviews. Although I would add, that the story is about every person he meets, like the lawyer is based on his wife. And Adrian Brody character's is based on him (or at least the way he thinks about himself), as he is a liar too. I believe he had a mistress but not as perfect as the one he is describing in the book, which I think is like his fantasy of a woman. Ans as you say at the beginning of the movie we saw him typing in a hotel room, we don't know where he is, so his character is in Paris, not necessary himself. I think that the lady of room service went into his room and left a piece of paper with the address and that gave him an idea of another character. Also, Milas Kunis is like him also she is liar, and for a very long part of the movie I never thought she was the bad girl, I saw her as a victim, but once again that's what liars do. There is no way the guy in the first minutes of the movie, totally depressed and isolated, would wake up next morning bright and shine , all is in his head. And when he says, he filled her room with flowers, white flowers, the color of trust...the color of the lies he tells... I thinks that the point of the movie. Remember how he writes in third person?
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Third Person Significant
gillgage17 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
All Spoilers

This offers more of an unraveling for the mystified than much of a review. Michael (Liam Neeson) is an author who writes about himself in the third person where he is 'a writer'. The movie is called Third Person. The trick and decoy here is that while it is all written in the third person from each sub-hero's limited perspective, including Michael the writer, it is in truth all about the First Person: Michael the author.

By having his characters breach social and moral rules in his story he explores possibilities for his soul's salvation in order to ease his conscience, his suffering after the role he played in the tragedy of his son's drowning. So, the stories we see played out in the film are in the writer's story but more importantly its main theme is the author's story thus making the whole thing a creation in the Third Person Omniscient narrative style. The 3 stories and their function:

1) The affair which includes incest – can this moral breach help our hero's pain and the writer's pain, or by some miracle can it bring his son back to life?

2) If he encountered a strange woman in a bar for whom there was a way to reunite with her child and he gave her every cent he had in the world, on trust, to help her get her child back would this work to balance the scales?

3) If he had been responsible for placing his son's life in danger but he placed the blame on his wife and arranged things so that she was held legally responsible and then punished by never being allowed to see her son again (as is the case for him), would this provide the necessary catharsis?

In each story the male character has probably committed the sin to some degree while some of the tension is in the possibility that it was about the female - or that the female at least plays a large part in our hero's grief and so can share the blame. The affair girl sleeps with her father; the maid girl who can't get her son back is at the mercy of the cruel famous artist husband who uses her to hide his guilt; the guy in Italy has committed the same sin as Michael the writer by leaving his son alone in the pool while he answers a phone call. For me this latter plot move was the confusing part and also the big reveal where 'third person limited' bled through to 'third person omniscient'.

To some up and rightly or wrongly to give all those who are confused some closure, in Third Person the hero of the story is, Michael the author who writes 3 stories in the 'third person limited' narrative style, but finally we see that the story is in the 'third person omniscient' style – as another reviewer commented here – 'it is all in his head'. Thank God that after such an odyssey it appeared to end as happily ever after as was possible (glimpse of child in back seat of car).
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Under whose watch is a child safer?
eldiez4ever12 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This movie reeks of personal touches ... and the depth of Paul Haggis is all over the screenplay.

A boy who is taken away from his mother for 'the best interest of the child', dies while in custody of his father who was supposed to be the better, safer parent.

The father Michael, Liam Neeson's character, writes a book about this, involving his ex-wife Elaine (the character of Kim Bassinger) and his troubled mistress Anna (the character of Olivia Wilde).

The characters of Adrian Brody and James Franco are fragments of the writer, as are the characters of Mila Kunis and Maria Bello fragments of his wife's.

While James Franco and Mila Kunis' story narrates the child custody phase of Michael and Elaine, the story of Adrian Brody seems to be the part of his life when Michael is in Rome after his son's death and gets caught up in trying to save the life of Monika's daughter, as if in redemption.

The three stories tie up neatly at the end, leaving us with the hope for a better tomorrow for Michael and Elaine, in the face of their personal tragedy, due to ego and power during the custody battle.

The movie is a metaphor for the legal system and its tragic consequences. Despite the erratic mental conditions, the characters maintain their dignity and composure.

It is not a movie for an audience who are not exposed to festival films or foreign films and those who are expecting a simple, linear, crash-type storyline.
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A horribly dull and uninteresting drama
eddie_baggins12 February 2015
Poor old Paul Haggis, ever since his success as a dedicated screenwriter with the likes of Million Dollar Baby and his Oscar winning directional comeback Crash (one of the most backlashed Best Picture winners in Oscar history) he seems to have entered into a creative funk that has seen him direct In the Valley of Elah and the Next Three Days, both financially unsuccessful and mediocre films that have now reached a new low with this Crash wannabe Third Person.

Third Person is the very epitome of a pretentious movie, a long winded self-assured multi character spanning drama that goes on far too long and attempts to wow us with its final reveal. It's a film with an interesting idea yet not the sense to play it out in an effective manner and it's a showcase for Haggis's lost touch behind camera that he can't illicit any good will from his actors, his story or his characters. Third Person seems intent on being depressing at any given time and while that is not a movie ruining play it doesn't work here when the script is so bland and situations so unbelievable in many aspects. The story line between Adrien Brody's seedy businessman Scott and Moran Atias's feisty mother Monika has to be one of the worst of last year and no amount of quality acting could've saved it or the picture as a whole.

While the lead here may be the ever stoic Liam Neeson as troubled writer Michael, Third Person spreads its acting burden across the capable shoulders of Olivia Wilde, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, James Franco and bit turns by the likes of Kim Basinger and Maria Bello, yet you wouldn't say a single one comes out of it on tops although Wilde shows some hidden intensity that showcases a more worthwhile film could well benefit from her presence. How all these people's lives interact with each other's is one of the films many frustrating pay offs and it makes you question why the story needed to be told in the way it was, but sadly it feels where the pretension of greatness stems from, you can almost see Haggis licking his directional lips at the thought of more Crash like success.

A dull film that thinks itself to be oh so clever, Third Person is a downright boring movie with a raft of unlikeable and uninteresting characters who occupy a storyline line that consistently fly's the line between utterly unbelievable through to total boredom. You're always sitting and waiting for Third Person to go somewhere, anywhere but thank goodness there are moments when people yell or break things as if they didn't, Third Person would've been one of the year's biggest non-events in a narrative and movie sense. As it stands, it's just plain old awful.

1 and a half white roses out of 5

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Wherein, we learn all about ourselves ... perhaps.
Roger Burke7 March 2015
This is not the usual Paul Haggis fare. Instead of violent drama often involving stark, brutal scenes, Haggis instead provides a dramatic and intimate look into the mind of the writer in this multiple third person narrative. All stories are constructed, of course, to examine a theme or themes. In this, one theme is trust - particularly that between husbands and wives. And lovers. But ... not only lovers.

Significantly, the story and plot begin with a writer, Michael (Liam Neeson), in a smoke-filled hotel room in Paris, engrossed with his laptop, pounding on the keyboard. After a few minutes, we hear a quick, sibilant whisper: 'Watch me!' Michael looks up, puzzled, looks around, finally returns his gaze to screen and fingers to keyboard. And carries on writing. And just as significantly, story and plot end with virtually the same scene - the narrative circle now complete.

Between those two scenes, Haggis weaves an intricate - some might complain too puzzling - plot about three married couples, in three different cities, in the throes of all the things that trouble marriages in trouble. Well ... all things are obviously too much for a single movie. So here, Haggis concentrates instead on the children and how parents behave as parents - and as children; although none of that's obvious at the start. By the end, though, it is the emotional core of the entire narrative.

As with Crash (2004), it would be foolhardy to attempt to itemize the plot; better to watch the movie and simply experience cleverly- edited, interwoven scenes. As the narrative progresses, however, I can understand viewers' puzzlement about a note, written and abandoned in New York, which is instantly and inexplicably transported to a hotel room in Paris. So also, another instance of that quiet whisper 'Watch Me!' involving another character. And, finally, one of the characters who viciously responds 'Watch Me!' to another. The true intent of that demand, however, eventually hits home in the final scenes.

Interpretation of this story depends on the viewer; but I think it's quite clear. What intrigues me more is the extent to which the author's own experience is present. Being a father of three, I feel sure Haggis has incorporated some of his parenting self in this story.

The production is virtually flawless. The acting is exquisite for the most part. Olivia Wilde as Anna provided an eponymous acting turn - extravagantly wild and erratic. Kim Basinger as Elaine was beautifully and meticulously controlled. Liam Neeson was, well, tough Liam Neeson but with a soft touch. Overall, a fine cast of actors, and well cast.

Recommended for adults, young and old. Eight out of ten.

March 7th, 2015
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In a 3 in 1 story, we explore the complications of three relationships.
Amari-Sali20 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
With a cast boasting Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Olivia Wilde, as well as Adrien Brody, in starring roles, it is hard to not be intrigued what this combination would do. Though with a low box office tally, as well as a low ratings on most media review web sites, could it be this combination doesn't create a cohesive film? Read below to find out.

Characters & Story

Beginning with the central story, Michael (Liam Neeson) is a Pulitzer Prize winning author who seemingly, as of late, hasn't shown the writing abilities which lead to him deserving a Pulitzer. And while he works on his new book, somewhere in Paris, his mistress, and mentee, Anna (Olivia Wilde) visits him, on his request. Though with both of them having their own agenda when it comes to being in each other's company, it is hard to say who is getting the most out of who.

As for the first side story, it deals with a man named Scott (Adrien Brody) who works in dealing fraudulent designer clothing designs who, one day while in Italy, comes across a woman in a bar named Monika (Moran Atias) who is in need. Why? Well, her daughter is being held hostage and she needs 5,000€. And with Scott having a child who he hasn't seen in a long time, and Monika not being able to see her daughter in 2 years, his sympathy for her leads to him doing his best to help.

Leaving story 3 in which we watch Julia (Mila Kunis), a mother desperately trying to see her son, fighting a legal battle against her ex Rick (James Franco) who is doing everything in his power to stop her. The reason? Well, she neglected their son one time, endangered his life, and no he feels like he can't trust the two of them to be together. Leading to us watching an uphill battle in which Julia tries to prove to Rick, as well as the courts, that she deserves, at the very least, visitation rights.


To me, each story could have possibly been its own movie. Neeson and Wilde's was complicated enough to be a full length picture, which I would see; Brody and Atias' story could have been an action movie, a drama, if not a noir, which I probably would be labeled "TV Viewing"; and Kunis and Franco certainly could have had a nice dramatic film in which, maybe, Kunis could show her abilities, or lack thereof, as a dramatic actress. Which I probably wouldn't pay to see.

Noting specific reasons to praise the film's story as a whole though, really only Neeson and Wilde bring anything interesting to the film. For while the concept of the older established man, and the woman who wants to be taken seriously, as well as receive validation from the man she admires, isn't new at all, something about their chemistry just works. For with the many complications in their relationship, of which for every cute moment there is an argument or one being a butt head to the other, you have a growing desire, despite it all, to see them work it out. Then, if you look at the many theories about Michael's newest book, it adds a whole new depth which helps make the non-Neeson/ Wilde stories much more compelling.


However, if you are like me and don't connect the dots like IMDb user T-Max did, honestly you are left unsure how these stories are interconnected, besides by weakly developed relationships. Making it so, based on each story standing on its own, you have one major story, being Neeson's and Wilde's, compensating for Brody's and Kunis'. For, you see, focusing first on Brody and Atias' story, the plot just doesn't grab you in anyway. For it starts in a bar, it seems Scott is attracted to Monika, but with Monika giving him the cold shoulder he tries to win her over by talking about his kid and trying to seem like he isn't just trying to get in between her thighs. Leading to this whole, is she trying to con me, or not, plot which honestly isn't set to the type of tone where you feel it is relevant. If just because there isn't much of a build to make it seem like Monika maybe conning him, much less you giving a damn enough about Scott to care if he loses 1000s of euros because of Monika.

Then, when it comes to Kunis and Franco, quite honestly I just don't think of Mila Kunis and think, "She should play a dramatic role." A thought she doesn't change at all in this film for she doesn't break the idea that she is a better comedic actress than anything else. For something about her, which may be due to me mentally type casting her, just doesn't make her attempts at being dramatic, or playing a role which requires real depth, to seem compelling nor realistic. Add in she is playing off Franco, who also I just don't see as a good dramatic actor, and it really kills what honestly was an interesting storyline. Just played by the wrong actors.

Overall: TV Viewing

If this movie was just about Michael and Anna's relationship, this might have been labeled Worth Seeing. However, with the inclusion of Brody and Kunis' story, the film gained liabilities which didn't create the type of interest that Michael and Anna did in terms of characters, nor the characters' stories. Making it where I must label this as a "TV Viewing" since Brody and Kunis' story felt like extra fat which should have been trimmed off.
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The Key Word is "Watch"
aharmas16 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Haggis can write interesting material. If he took a little longer to edit his work, he could make great movies. "Third Person" happens to be one of those films that sound great in paper, are hard to explain and understand, and one just feels if only he had taken a little longer... I couldn't stop raving about it and could watch it over and over and over.

"Third Person" is not the easiest film to go over. There are several stories going on, apparently at the same time. The main one appears to have a writer who is having an affair with a beautiful and complex woman. They play all kinds of games, some of which only people in the literary business would get. He calls his wife. She seems to be avoiding contact with another man, but one wonders for how long before she gives in to temptation herself. Eventually, the game gets a little too much for all the parties involved, with a revelation that is bound to shock a few in the audience.

The second story takes place in Italy, and it's so convoluted and full of holes is at best cheesy, but it also has Adrien Brody and a very interesting actress. Moran Atias. Both of which give their best to the roles of a hustler and a too trusting foreigner. We know from the beginning there is going to be some type of tragic end to this mess, but it's their interplay and these enthusiastic actors which makes this bit fun. He goes into a bar, meets an exotic woman, and he's so smitten that he's willing to follow her just about everywhere she goes. How much can he trust her? You decide.

Then, we have the darkest of the stories, with Kunis playing a woman who can't seem to get a handle on how to get her son back. She made a serious mistake, tries to get her husband through legal means with the help of Maria Bello's assertive and caring attorney to give her some custody back. Unfortunately she has the worst luck in the world, and she is not really emotionally stable. It's a devastating segment, and James Franco shows a dark dramatic side in his acting resume, as the very insensitive and non-caring parent. He's repulsive, yet magnetic.

We, in the audience, keep wondering when the stories will come together, and we guess and guess if they share anything in common. If you pay attention, it becomes obvious what the stories are, and where they come from. The ending might look a bit forced, and that's part of the problem here. Had the film been scrutinized a bit more and carefully edited, it would have a fascinating offering, pretty much in a twisted kind of way.
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