The Face of Love

Arie Posin’s The Face of Love is an odd little movie about loss and grief--themes to which the cinematic form is particularly well suited. Annette Bening stars as Nikki, a widow of five years who looses the love of her life, her husband Garret (Ed Harris) when he drowns on their 30th anniversary. She lives in a kind of flat, passive state until strange feelings are rekindled inside her because of a chance encounter with another man. It’s no accident that Posin has subtlety placed a movie poster of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo in Nikki’s dining room, as this film plays almost like a melodrama take on that dreamlike thriller. Of course, this is not a film that comes anywhere close to that grand level of cinema. In fact, it’s not a very convincing story at all--most everything that occurs on screen defies logic and credibility. Yet if you view this film as a dream, or more specifically, as a narrative representation of an emotional state, it’s curiously effective. Credit Bening’s ability to make her melancholy, irrational, and borderline-delusional character sympathetic and attractive. In the hands of a lesser actress, both movie viewers and the two available men in the story would flee from someone as unbalanced as Nikki, rather than be drawn to her. Posin and co-writer Matthew McDuffie, wisely keep the world of their picture small--only five characters of any significance--which helps us suspend our disbelief through the first half of this lean picture. The Face of Love certainly isn’t in the same league with great films about loss and grief like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Truly Madly Deeply, Ordinary People, Tender Mercies, Rabbit Hole, Ghost, In the Bedroom, The Sweet Hereafter, or Sophie’s Choice, but if you like films on this subject (and I’m a sucker for them) then you might appreciate this original take. Just don't expect much of a dramatic payoff.

Directed by Arie Posin
Produced by Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn

Written by Arie Posin and Matthew McDuffie

With: Annette Bening, Ed Harris, Robin Williams, Amy Brenneman, and Jess Weixler

Cinematography: Antonio Riestra
Editing: Matt Maddox
Music: Marcelo Zarvos

Runtime: 92 min
Release Date: 25 October 2013
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1