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5 TO 7 A Discreet Indiscretion

5to7_web_1

Directed by Victor Levine

Starring Anton Yelchin, Berenice Marlohe

Struggling writer Brian (Anton Yelchin) meets the love of his life one day on the streets of New York. What he doesn’t understand is when Arielle (Berenice Marlohe) says she is only available from five to seven, she is referring to the French expression of cinq a sept affair. Soon Brian is swept up into the strange world of a discreetly French affair, while struggling with his own American values.

A strangely enjoyable romantic comedy, that makes infidelity as acceptable and as ordinary as possible. Instead of miring itself in guilt, it celebrates the life in the relationship, seeing marriage and romance as not as intertwined as we often think of them. It is a thorny subject matter deftly handled, that gains great comedic potential by turning expectations on its head. Part of this is due to the rapid-fire script by director Victor Levine, that manages to deliver some devastatingly funny lines along with pertinent insight into life, love, writing and, of course, New York. Part of this is due to the great performances, especially the chemistry between the two romantic leads. However perhaps the most important part in this equation is that 5 To 7 treats all its characters as equals. None are villainous and all come across as equally likeable. Sure, a husband may not always agree with his wife’s lover, but they do keep it remarkably civil and you can clearly understand both sides of the argument.

However, like all halcyon days this can’t last forever, and it is here 5 To 7 fails to stick the landing. In its conclusion it draws deeply from that well of sentimentality, relying on meaningful glances and a swelling score to convey meaning. Ironically it lessens the impact of the ending by trying to play up the emotional power, clashing with the light touch and pithy dialogue that it had worked so well for the film previously.

Bérénice Marlohe and Anton Yelchin actually have a good degree of on-screen chemistry together. It is not an all consuming passion, but rather a playful flirtation that demonstrates a joy in each other’s company, and rather refreshing to see in such a tale of grand romance. Arielle should be a character that the audience can perceive as selfish, but it is testament to Marlohe’s charisma that this is the furthest thing from our minds. There is no malicious intent in her, rather a joy of life that can’t be contained within traditional confines. She really does seem as fey and full of wonder as her namesakes (both Disney and Shakespeare). Yelchin too walks a fine line, managing to be wry, neurotic, and hopelessly romantic in about equal measure without it being annoyingly self involved.

A romantic comedy about a Jewish New York writer without a Woody Allen in sight, this is a pleasantly lightweight tale that mostly delivers.

DAVID O’CONNELL

5 To 7 screens at Somerville from Monday, December 22, until Sunday, December 28, and ECU Joondalup Pines from Tuesday, December 30, until Wednesday, December 31, as part of Lotterywest Festival Films. Go to perthfestival.com.au for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

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