Brief Thoughts: The Face of Love (Movie Review)

I really enjoy putting my reviews together.  I honestly wish I could delve deeper into certain movies, but alas, I get incredibly busy and can sometimes only deal with movies to a briefer extent than I would prefer.  This is why I write these occasional "Brief Thoughts" posts on movies I have seen, as I want to at least offer some of my own perspective on them.  They may not be as polished, but I can at least get my opinions out there. This post is a review of the film The Face of Love, starring Annette Bening, Ed Harris, and Robin Williams.

The Face of Love:  1 1/2 out of 5

Imagine if Vertigo was not a psychological thriller and mystery, but instead a sappy melodrama fitting for someone like Nicholas Sparks to turn into a book that would then be turned into a film.  The Face of Love is that film.  Annette Bening stars as Nikki, a woman whose husband (played by Ed Harris) has died a few years ago.  While continuing to cope with her loss, Nikki happens to spot a man at a museum who looks exactly like her dead husband (he is also played by Ed Harris).  This man is Tom, a local art teacher, who Nikki eventually pursues.  The two of them begin a relationship, with Tom not being in on the reason as to why Nikki initially sought him out to begin with.  Robin Williams also stars as Nikki's next-door neighbor who has always been a good friend, while Jess Weixler plays Nikki's daughter, who is not bound to take kindly to her mother dating some guy that looks exactly like her dead father.  Of course, eventually the ball will have to drop, but what will happen then?

The answer is fairly predictable and not all that exciting, as the whole film is preposterous.  Generally I am fine with going along with the logic established within a film's universe, but The Face of Love is a film that I could not get behind in terms of its very premise, which makes it very hard to appreciate whatever else the film has to offer.  Sure, Bening and Harris are terrific actors and they make the best of what they are given in this film, but the script is terrible.  Bening's character basically becomes unlikable as the film goes on, which can be chalked up to grief and other aspects of her character, but the way it is depicted, the words she uses, and the basic unambitious direction of this film make it very hard to sympathize.  Ed Harris, who I generally say has never given a bad performance in a film, basically has to sit around playing a dullard.  The film pushes his character to very strange places, given how intelligent we see Tom to be and it just became angering, the more it went on.

There is little else to add, as this was not a film that could be saved by its actors and audiences have many better option available to them, even when it comes to romantic dramas.  Bening and Harris are wonderful actors, but I can only hope I find them in films that are much better suited to their talents in the near futures, as I'd rather never have to think about this film again. 


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