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A game between four characters. A comedy about love and friendship. A film about the great lie of story telling that moves between reality and fiction. "Successful couples are a question of luck. It's something that's totally beyond our control. Only by happy accident can two people who love each other manage to fit perfectly so as to enjoy the rest of their lives together." Woody AllenWritten by
V. O. S. is a sui-generis romantic comedy directed by Spanish film maker Cesc Gay and based on the eponymous stage play. The movie is bilingual, spoken both in Spanish and Catalan, with a few sentences in Basque, and has a broken narrative with mirror-like happenings. It is a movie within a movie that shows the filming of the relationship and love story of two couples, who are the actors in the movie; they are playing both their own past personal story, the writing of the same, and its filming.
Agata Roca plays Clara, a single independent woman who says that she wants independence and an independent relationship but thrives for a traditional love story. Paul Berrondo plays Manu, Clara's best friend and father to be of her first child, who is sure about their relationship. Andres Herrera is Anders, Manu's best friend, a freelance movie-writer and University teacher in a traditional relationship but unwilling to commit. Vicenta N'Dongo is Vicky, Ander's down to earth committed and serious girlfriend, who tries to step forward in their relationship. All of them play their respective roles with great freshness and empathy with their characters. The participation of the filming crew as themselves adds lots of charm to the movie, as they are incorporated into the story and not presented as mere workers.
The movie is very enjoyable, engaging and fresh, but also confusing. The main downs of the movie are three. The first is that the story is too theatrical, the weight of the studio around being overly present, and one feels the need for more characters or more interaction with the outdoors and with other characters. Do these characters have families, friends, etc.? The second, and most important, is that the fringes between the three story-within-the-story moments are not clearly defined since the beginning, and it takes a bit too long for the viewer to realize which part is which. Until that "Oh! that is it" moment happens, the movie feels charmingly absurd but also pretentious. It can easily discourage mainstream viewers.
Finally, the drawing of the characters is a bit stereotypical. On one hand, it really highlights many of the problems that settled couples find in their mid 30s and the contradictions of human relationships. However, one wonders what are all these people, who are not actors, filming a movie about their lives? Seems a bit bizarre and not believable. Like a lack of internal logic, or lack of explanation of the same.
Despite everything, I found the movie very enjoyable and intriguing, a mix between a Hollywood love story and one of Charlie Kauffman's approaches to film making and film writing. Original, fresh and entertaining.
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