Most contemporary films that attempt to make art part of their plot lines inevitably fail.
Why? Because the films objectify art rather than humanize it. It's a no brainer that everyone seems to miss.
However, I'm thrilled to say this is not the case with Arie Posin's, "The Face of Love." I had every intention of catching this film in the movie theater, but got distracted for a couple of weeks and the next thing I knew, it was gone. This is how I knew this was probably a good film. Films that truly respect art don't usually make for great box office returns. That's just how it is.
So, I just finished watching the film on HBO. I recorded it and I'm playing it back as I'm chatting with you now. A melancholy, music-filled, melodrama.
"The Face of Love," starring Annette Bening and Ed Harris and directed and co-written by Posin, is such a lovely tribute to so many things, not the least of which is contemporary art. More on that in a moment.
First, Annette Bening. What is it going to take for this great actress to finally win an Oscar? In whatever role she plays, her intelligence, elegance and personal integrity always shine through. She is a true movie star in the very same league as Meryl Streep. This time around, Bening plays a woman who has lost her husband and she tries to reclaim him through "Tom" played so adeptly by Ed Harris who, despite his obvious success, also remains an underrated actor.
I love seeing films with mature, seasoned actors who are at the top of their game. Only mature people can be at the top of their game. Experience matters. This is a central theme in the film along with death, mourning, nostalgia and living in the present as opposed to the past. It's particularly poignant seeing Robin Williams playing a character who symbolizes much of this in one of his final film roles. May he rest in peace.
As usual, I won't give much away. I'll just say that Ed Harris plays an artist, Bening plays a lost and confused woman whose first husband was an art collector and the film is loaded with beautiful art and lovely treatment of art. The cinematography is also wonderful and artfully done. Think "Ed Hopper" and "David Hockney" as you watch certain scenes.
"The Face of Love" respects contemporary art more than any film I've ever seen. Posin does a splendid job of showing how art is an integral part of these character's lives and he makes it a profound part of the overall plot. You'll see.
As I'm watching scenes of this film again, I'm reminded that painting won't ever go away nor will it be replaced by digital art or anything that follows. Why not? Because, as I said earlier, contemporary art is about capturing the human experience. It searches for what makes us human. It literally remains an almost exclusively handmade endeavor.
Catch this film as soon as you can. Let me also warn you that there are a couple of places in the film where it comes dangerously close to being like a "Movie of the Week" from 1980's television. However, Posin successfully avoids this with a couple of acceptable plot twists.
The ending of this film is to "live" for. We see that for all of life's mysteries and unanswered questions, contemporary art is right there and it's in our breathing lungs and beating hearts.