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*** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS***
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.