Conversations With Other Women

Two former lovers (Aaron Eckhart, Helena Bonham Carter) see each other for the first time in years at a mutual acquaintance's wedding, which reignites their attraction to each other. That's the pitch. The twist? The entire film is shot in split-screen.

As a concept, it's not as annoying as it sounds. But ironically, while the cinematic trickery may be meant to disguise the staginess of the screenplay (lots of dialogue, scant supporting characters, and pretty much filmed in just two locations, not including flashbacks), the democratic nature of getting to choose which side of the screen we wish to look at, at any given time, actually makes the film feel like live theatre.

Bonham Carter and Eckhart are both fine as usual, and it's nice to see them flexing their chops in an open arena. Both turn in brave, touching performances. But while the film inspires a lot of post-screening discussion, thanks to the many questions it leaves unanswered, my wife brought up a gaping plot hole that's worth mentioning.

If you have any interest in seeing this film, and don't want any of your surprises ruined, then let me end this review with, "This movie's pretty good; check it out." Do not read the rest of this review until you've seen the film.

Anyway, about halfway through the proceedings, it's revealed that these people weren't just brief, casual lovers, but that they were actually married – how long, exactly, is only implicitly suggested, as are many of the details about their marriage. (I think it's about ten years. The characters are both 38 when they reconnect, and apparently were wed when they were just 18 or 19.) The problem is that we also learn, very early on, that the bride at the wedding is, in fact, Eckhart's sister – and yet Bonham Carter is one of the bridesmaids!

You see the problem: Doesn't it seem awfully strange that Eckhart would have completely lost touch with Bonham Carter – while his own sister knew how to find her? And even stranger that a bride would think nothing of including her brother's long-estranged ex-wife in her bridal party? And without warning her brother beforehand?

Gabrielle Zevin's script is so otherwise well-written that I'm surprised she failed to work out this obvious glitch in the storyline. But if you can overlook that egregious boo-boo, you'll probably enjoy the film.