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Sunday, May 27, 2012

SIFF Sighting: TWO FOR THE ROAD (Classic, United Kingdom)

Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney play Joanna and Mark: a 60s-era couple that succumbs to the stereotypical failures of a wedded union.

They begin, as most couples do, passionately in love with one another; playful and carefree.

They're both gorgeous, charismatic and engaging, so what could possibly go wrong, right?

Their story is told in non-chronological flashbacks, so we alternately experience their best memories along with their worst. Sort of like real life, which is alternately touching and frustrating.

The most entertaining bits feature them on a road trip with another couple and their obnoxious young daughter Ruthie (Gabrielle Middleton). The parents here are on the cusp of the generation that started letting discipline go out the window in favor of allowing kids to explore their "feelings" and "experience independence." The little brat spotlighted in this role is a perfect example of why that parenting trend was (and continues to be) a huge failure—blatant displays of entitlement and general disrespect. But I digress...

The two leads here behave much like the couple in WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF, which came five years prior to this film, but without the same intensity or venom.

Their fights are uncomfortable, sure, but not entirely enough to convince the audience they won't eventually kiss and make up.

Overall, it's not a bad film, and the recent restoration by The Film Foundation and Twentieth Century Fox makes the print glow with nostalgia and light.

TWO FOR THE ROAD screened at the 38th Annual Seattle International Film Festival.

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