DVD Review: Marie and Bruce

Directed by Tom Cairns (Alliance)

Darling, do you find the word "darling" annoying? I imagine you will by the time you're finished watching Marie and Bruce, darling. In fact, darling, you'll probably want to circulate a petition in favour of having the word excised from the English language entirely. You see, before Marie and Bruce became an odd little movie, it was a play by Wallace Shawn (co-writer/star of My Dinner with Andre)---a fact that the film's stylized, idiosyncratic, "darling"-heavy dialogue makes apparent pretty early on. As they weave their way through what could be the last day in their now-passionless marriage, Marie (Julianne Moore) and Bruce (Matthew Broderick) say things people would never say, in ways that people would never say them. (Shares Bruce, conversationally: "You can be sort of a cunt, darling, at certain times, when you refuse to fuck me.") And yet, once youget past the annoying "darlings" and get used to Shawn and director/co-scripter Tom Cairns' simultaneously stilted and poetic dialogue, there's lots to admire about this film, which handily conveys the disgust, disappointment and disconnect that cause a marriage to falter, the tiny gestures that keep it going---and just how hilariously boring most party and dinner chatter can be.

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