'Like Someone in Love'
3 1/2 stars
In "Certified Copy," from Iranian writer-director Abbas Kiarostami, a relationship blossoms and then fades under the Tuscan sun, though the story keeps changing its rules of engagement. The couple at the center, we presume, are strangers getting to know each other, but halfway through the exquisite riddle of a picture they "become" (or pretend to become) husband and wife.
Nothing so tricky occurs in "Like Someone in Love," the latest from Kiarostami. This is a more straightforward affair, though every shot is just so, beautifully observed and observant. Those anticipating another guessing game such as "Certified Copy" will be disappointed. I liked the film the first time I saw it, at the
The opening sequence plays hide-and-seek in a brilliant way. We're inside a tiny
After a tantalizing long while, the woman is revealed: She is Akiko (
"Like Someone in Love" takes Akiko by taxi out to a suburb where a (mostly) retired literary scholar, played by
The confined interiors these characters inhabit, beginning with the bar we get to know so well in the opening 15 minutes, define Kiarostami's notion of the universe being made up of a million tiny encounters, whether inside a car (Kiarostami's films are crazy for vehicular perspectives) or someone's apartment. At the scholar's place, the older man and the younger woman discuss music and art and generally act like nervous teens on a first date. A reproduction of an oil painting, of a woman and a parrot, hangs on the professor's wall. The subject of the painting, he says, is Japanese, but the style is Western. "That's what makes it special," he says.
The next day the professor drives Akiko to meet her boyfriend, a garage mechanic played as a desperate, coiled bundle of nerves by
Where "Like Someone in Love" goes from there will startle some viewers. Since the Cannes premiere, the film's ending has vexed even its admirers with its abruptness. Kiarostami, here writing in a form resembling an extended and artful one-act play, peaks in visual terms with that opening 15 minutes. His story of loners is ultimately quite sad and frightening. But it's also gorgeously acted by all, and while this may not be one of Kiarostami's finest, the craftsmanship nonetheless is so high, it makes everything else currently in theaters look slovenly.
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"Like Someone in Love" Movie Trailer
No MPAA rating.
Running time: 1:49.
Credits: Written and directed by Abbas Kiarostami; produced by Kiarostami, Charles Gillibert and
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