John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter, sets up the premise of the Vertigo-compared The Face of Love, a new psychological love story:
Depicting an episode of grief-fueled insanity that might tempt anyone in the same situation, Arie Posin‘s The Face of Love offers a widow who, upon meeting her husband’s doppelganger five years after his death, can’t help but pretend he’s the man she’s loved her whole life. Annette Bening captivates as the self-delusionist, with Ed Harris ruggedly irresistible as the object of her fantasy.
Nikki had been married about 30 years when she became a widow—her husband Garrett drowned while out swimming one night. Since then her life hasn’t been the same, of course. Meeting the lookalike Tom (who’s divorced from Amy Brenneman‘s character) is one thing, but not telling him why she’s so drawn to him—not even that the man he so closely resembles is dead—is another.
In similar fashion, she also avoids letting either her friend Roger (Robin Williams) or her daughter (Jess Weixler) meet Tom.
You can watch the trailer for The Face of Love below:
The reviews so far have been less than stellar, with more kudos going to the actors than anything else. Some excerpts follow:
Claudia Puig, USA Today: “It’s a maudlin, superficial exercise in obsession masquerading as a heartfelt romance and study of grief, and character development is sorely lacking.”
Justin Chang, Variety: “…verges on ludicrous, but ultimately succeeds at conveying one person’s complicated yet emotionally rational response to a highly irrational situation.”
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times: “…(T)he main attractions are Ed Harris and a deeply appealing Annette Bening as two — actually, make that three — characters brought together by fate and a screenplay that promisingly flirts with fantasy only to come crashing down to bummer earth.”
John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter: “Posin and co-screenwriter Matthew McDuffie find a wholly credible resolution to this love story, but they can’t resist a coda that is pat enough (especially in its final shot) to be described as tacky. It’s an end as emotionally tidy as the premise is thorny.”
Rex Reed, New York Observer: “A trite, unconvincing ending, in the form of a credo, finally succumbs to the kind of melodrama the rest of the movie successfully avoids and leaves an unsettling aftertaste. But the acting is bliss.”