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The Face of Love Review

I’m a bit conflicted about reviewing this movie. Firstly I have little experience with romance films, not because I think they’re bad – but I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way for one. I prefer the relationship between an archaeologist and his hat, or a smuggler to his wookie.

Every genre has the potential for greatness, regardless of my personal interest in the subject matter. I’ll attempt to take my own advice and critique the movie for its own value – but consider this a guy’s perspective on hopelessly romantic films.

Perhaps best described as P.S. I Love You for pensioners…just without the P.S. and without the Butler. A woman named Nikki, who loses her husband to drowning spots a duplicate of him five years later. She tails the man with an obsessive fascination until the two begin dating – because that’s how these things go, as this is a romance movie, not ‘How to Train a Stalker’.

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Things get unsettling as the relationship develops, and the audience becomes ever more aware, and creeped-out, that Nikki is only dating this fellow because of his resemblance to her dead lover. A fact she tries to hide from him and everyone else, with aggravated repercussions.

It’s an intriguing set up, and the romantic self-destruction that ensues makes a decent exploration of grief and coping mechanisms when brought into a relationship. Save for its premise, which is handled with moderate sleight of hand, there’s not much to say, good or bad. It’s a psychologically compelling idea played out with relative competence, but doesn’t inspire or achieve anything more.

I’ve been trying to figure out why these stories are so attractive to their audience, particularly women. If I had to take a semi-oblivious, male stab at it, I’d say it’s the adventure or fantasy of intimacy they convey. There’s something relationally-wired in the female mind I can never quite articulate – and the things they typically appreciate more than me. Someone’s ‘adorable’ habits, the initial awkwardness or confidence, their deep-dwelling voice, the way they look at you…their sexy posture…that sort of stuff.

Though the question remains – does the film actually reflect any of this? Does it form a believable relationship with all the joys and sufferings of a real one, enough so entice those it’s meant for? And yes I suppose it does.

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