F.I.L.M. of the Week (January 14, 2011)

14 01 2011

As a stage actor in high school, I’ve gained a certain appreciation for how in-tune the performances have to be.  The actor must always be acting as any member of the audience can simply shift their gaze on him at any time.  Cinema has marked a new era for the actor, where he doesn’t have to be finely in-tune for hours at a time.  The camera can cut away from him when he doesn’t speak, finding something that the filmmakers believed that impatient audiences will be more interested in than a mouth not sputtering out dialogue.

Yet it’s in those stray moments where we really see the power of the actor.  It’s in these moments that usually get left out of movies where we can truly visualize an actor’s vision for their character.  Through extensive use of split-screen, “Conversations with Other Women,” my pick for the “F.I.L.M.” of the week, is able to capture those moments and bring them to a largely unfamiliar destination: the silver screen.

After spending 80 minutes with Aaron Eckhart and probable 2010 Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter in “Conversations with Other Women,” you’ll have no doubt that they have complete understanding and mastery of not only their characters, but of the craft of acting as well.  They play unnamed people, but just because we can’t identify them through nomenclature doesn’t mean that we can’t connect with them.

Eckhart and Carter strike up amicable conversation at a wedding reception, but the dynamic slowly changes to reveal that these aren’t just perfect strangers.  The methodical unraveling makes for a fascinating watch, as does their banter, which is very much like something that would be performed on stage.  Eckhart and Carter’s two-actor conversation works marvelously well, and the fact that they can keep us drawn in for the entire movie without ever letting go or letting up is nothing short of astounding.  With comedy, drama, and intrigue, “Conversations with Other Women” is a quirky but immensely satisfying showcase of two actors doing what few screen actors dare.