It’s going to be weird to start talking about Anton Yelchin in the past tense, but here goes … deep breath.
Among the many roles I wish Yelchin had the opportunity to play, the nebbish Woody Allen surrogate shot to the top of the list the moment I saw the beautiful, magical “5 t0 7.” The actor captures all the confusion and frustration over unpleasant romantic configurations without all the nerve-inducing anxiety of someone like Jesse Eisenberg. His leading man type was the perfectly agreeable mix between matinee idol and real person.
Unlike an Allen protagonist, however, Yelchin’s Brian Bloom is a hopeless monogamist who cannot fathom the bohemian open relationship held by the object of his desire, Bérénice Marlohe’s Arielle. She’s married to a French diplomat with whom she shares two beautiful children, but between the hours of 5 and 7 P.M., she has the freedom to carry out her own romantic pursuits. That she can be so steadfastly committed to her marriage but cavalier in her affairs baffles Brian to no end.
Better yet, the relationship status marks only the surface level of differences between the two lovers explored by writer/director Victor Levin. Age, social strata and success markers provide friction to complicate the passion. Brian struggles to gain traction in the insular New York publishing world, while Arielle’s standing as the wife of an established community leader lends an air of comfort to her every action. In many ways,”5 to 7″ inverts the romantic cliché of the knight in shining armor saving the damsel in distress by having Arielle pull Brian upwards professionally.
The subtext might be nice to examine in a review, but the real pleasures of “5 to 7” come from simply taking in the film’s gently paced, wonderfully measured charms. Levin never hurries a scene, always allowing information and emotion to spring naturally from the dialogue and blocking. While clocking in at only 97 minutes, the film feels like spending years with these characters. Watching them endure the growing pains of a relationship with the additional complications of not subscribing to typical social norms makes for a delightfully witty and sincere journey. B+ /