The last weekend of the holidays (sigh - so long ago now!) I watched 3 movies. Anything for Her; Greenberg; and Lantana. I really enjoyed Lantana, especially as the end of Greenberg has a character with an atrocious Australian accent (not an Australian, by the way). So to hear, then, familiar accents and idioms, and see country that I know - wonderful.
I think I need to explain some of my mood here. The morning of the day I watched it, I went to church. The collect was for married people, and the sermon was about married people and people in relationships. I have never felt before the way I did in church that day. To watch Lantana that evening, then, was fortuitous. All these people in relationships, trying to navigate the minefield of living your own life but being a good partner, compromise, responsibility, honesty, deception, secrets, trust, betrayal, passion and lack of it - it reminded me that there are just as many problems in relationships as there are without.
We're presented with all these relationships, each connected to another whether they know it or not. And this was before Facebook! It's tempting to judge each relationship on how well they're doing - I admit it, I judged. And so I landed a few surprises along the way. The 'best' couple - not perfect, but they are so open with each other, no secrets - they are certainly tested when the husband is accused of being involved with the disappearance of the psychiatrist. And tested when the newly divorced neighbour starts flirting with him. But the wife sticks by her husband ("in good times and in bad").
One couple - the shrink and her man - are slightly infuriating. So calm, so 'shrink-like' - like there's no passion, just mature adults. But still waters run deep, and the discovery that they lost their child not so long ago explains a lot. I still wanted to them to have a good screaming match and then make up, but that was not to be. Their house though - wow. If you haven't been to the Hawkesbury river, or up around Hornsby with all that lovely bushland, put it on your bucket list. I'm slightly biased as this area of Sydney is in my blood, but I still maintain it's beautiful.
Anthony LaPaglia's character... I can't help liking him. True, he's having an affair. As his police partner says to him, he's got a perfectly good marriage (something which still eludes her) and he's "pissing all over it". His mid-life crises have an element of humour as well as desperation. His lack of anger management is starting to be a problem but (from this vantage point) I see that more as a sign of depression than bad character. After all, we are all flawed. There are very few among us who behave impeccably all of the time, even if we try. Sometimes, you need to fall off the wagon a bit to help you be better again in the future. And having to investigate the shrink's disappearance - more, when I think of it, the husband's lack of passion towards her - reminds him, shows him, how much he loves his wife, how much he cares for her, and how easily she might leave him and how dreadful that might be.
I think that it's this Shakespearean element of flawed character that makes this movie so appealing. We are all flawed, no one has a perfect relationship unless they are in la-la land, and we are all connected whether we know it or not.