To Be So Lucky To Be Free From "5 To 7" Review

Imagine if Jean-Luc Godard made a film starring Woody Allen circa Annie Hall...only the nostalgic and neurotic result was far more grating than any of the iconic romances created by either of those auteurs. Such is 5 to 7, a romantic comedy-drama starring Anton Yelchin as Brian Bloom, an ambitious young writer who falls for Arielle, played by Skyfall Bond Girl Berenice Marlohe, after they meet cute while smoking outside the hotel where Arielle is having lunch.

Arielle, a retired model, is older and more worldly than Brian, and fulfills every stereotype that awkward American men have every had about glamorous French women--one of their initial dates even involves wine tasting (“You have the palate of a water buffalo,” she deadpans in her crisp accent). However, despite the (incredibly unlikely) chemistry between the two, there is a catch: Arielle is married to a diplomat, has two children, and can only meet Brian between the hours of 5:00 and 7:00 pm each day. Her husband, Valery, is fine with this arrangement; he has his own lover on the side, a young editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux (of course) played with forced quirk by Olivia Thirlby. However, despite this seemingly ideal, albeit untraditional, situation--hot sex with an older woman who is out of his league and intellectual banter with no strings attached--Brian wants more.

5 to 7 a very “New York” film, if you assume that all New Yorkers are able to afford apartments in Midtown Manhattan where they can write all day without needing a pesky day job to pay the bills, regularly lunch at The Carlyle, are familiar with every writer ever to publish in The New Yorker and are white. It feels more like a fluffy fantasy world than the concrete jungle I know and love. The one bright spot of the film is the casting of Glenn Close and Frank Langella as Brian’s parents; they rarely drift out of comfortably well-worn Jewish stereotypes, but they’re so funny and refreshingly real compared to the other characters in the ensemble that one sighs in relief whenever they appear onscreen. Yelchin and Marlohe are both naturally charming, but even they struggle under the weight of the film’s dialogue, which is so heavy with attempts at deep, serious statements about life and love that one cannot help but cringe whenever they open their mouths. When Woody Allen made these kinds of films, it was more than forty years ago; now, this portrayal of privileged lifestyle doesn’t feel retro as much as just plain outdated. (Also, his dialogue was actually clever, instead of just trying to be.) 5 to 7 aims to be a vintage Chanel coat, but instead, it feels like a Goodwill find that just doesn’t fit right.

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES

The DVD release of 5 to 7 includes a “making of” featurette as well as the film’s trailer.

"5 to 7" is on sale August 18, 2015 and is rated R. Romance. Written and directed by Victor Levin.

Oct
07
2015
Lee Jutton • Staff Writer

Lee attended NYU for Film & TV Production, but she now works mostly in PR. Her primary obsessions in life are Doctor Who, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Arsenal F.C. When not writing about things she's watched, she's running or kickboxing in preparation for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. 

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