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Jan 21, 2012

Review: Certified Copy (2011)

                  Juliette Binoche, William Shimell, Jean-Claude Carrière, Agathe Natanson, Gianna Giachetti, Adrian Moore, Angelo Barbagallo, Andrea Laurenzi, Filippo Troiano and Manuela Balsimelli.

Directed By:
                         Abbas Kiarostami.

                This was a Foreign movie i was really curious to watch after all the great things i heard about it, Binoche won best actress award at the 2010 Cannes and this movie was released last year in US. I have been lucky enough to catch 2 movies from 2 Iranian directors, Asghar Farhadi and now Abbas Kiarostami. This movie has dialogs in English, French and Italian but i saw it without subtitles because i thought the major part of the movie would be in English. I'll for sure catch a subtitle version somewhere but still i enjoyed the movie very much and knew exactly what was going on. So this movie revolves around a British writer James Miller played by William Shimell who is in Tuscany to promote his latest book that is titled "Certified Copy". Juliette Binoche's character (her name is never given) is a French antiques dealer who attends the event in order to get him sign the books with her son. She has to leave but she drops off her phone number to Miller's translator. They meet at her shop but decides to get out and see some of the countryside, he signs the book while she is driving. They talk about here and there, the book's subject and than slowly her own life and personal things. Their conversation begins to go intense and takes a vital turn at a local café where a woman mistakes them for a married couple. They suddenly start talking in a way that they actually are one, married for 15 years and with a child.

                 I know, as much as the plot sounds so simple and this weird twist sounds so unbelievable but there is something about this movie that honestly makes it a near masterpiece. I seemed to have not get the actual meaning behind the movie but i have many theories about it. A movie like this doesn't necessarily has to or should have a one exact conclusion or something, the open ending is for the viewers to really add their imagination to. So these two people who really don't know each other from the start, while talking about their lives suddenly start acting like real life couple so where they really married and the first half was just acting out? But honestly the first half doesn't make sense then. Or were they in love before, like lost love or something? or was she the only one who had feelings for him before? What i see personally is that when they talk about art, the importance or significance of a copy to its original material and coming to their personal life like in her case, her son, they slowly seem to get deep and deeper into the conversation trying to prove their thoughts. This seems to get intense and then comes a point where they are just mistaken for a married couple, i think they decides to go on with it just to continue the conversation they were having or the role playing thing where he will put his own thoughts and she will put hers. Binoche's character is a single mother so you can see the impatience or being on the edge all the time, she is restless and constantly worried about everything. It looks like her own perception on love and life wasn't shared by her own husband whom we never hear about but it looks like that.

                 She is a art antiques dealer and he writes a book on the fact that art is never about authenticity but every production is original in itself and that every original is a copy of something else. It doesn't matter, every person is different and if you talk about in terms of art, they can bring their own self in what artistic production they will do which in fact would be something you might have already seen but this one would be original and copy at the same time, copy to something bigger and the known thing but original due to the fact that they brought something new to it. I know i sound confusing but this is all what i have to say about it. I see a lot of gender conflicts to in the way they talk about different things, he seems to defend her son's rebellious attitude while she goes on complaining about it. He is someone who doesn't necessarily believes that marriage is the ultimate goal for a couple in love and that everyone should be free and not bound to something. You can see this attitude of him that when they walk and see married couple, he is not just interested in them. He is told to take photographs at a wedding but he refuses, while sitting in the café the woman is constantly peeking out to see the happily married couple but he is not even interested in talking about them. It honestly can merely be the height of their i don't know ego or something where they are so unbelievably egoistic that they can go to any extent in terms of proving their points and thoughts on somethings that they can even pretend to be husband and wife while talking about family, marriage and children.

                The masterful director Kiarostami leaves the ending unclear but before the ending, you can see some sort of passion and a certain look for each other like no matter what role playing or whatever that whole thing was, they might be falling in love for each other. Or does it really was the whole point of proving the main idea of Miller's book? I am honestly not much of a philosopher so i am not even sure i made my points clear above but anyways lets talk about the other aspects of the movie. William Shimell in his first ever movie is good, not a great performance or a breakthrough role but honestly he seems very convincing. Now Juliette Binoche on the other hand delivered one of the very best performance of her entire career, she is just pure and sheer talent. You have no idea how much can i go on and on about her because i hardly remember such a tremendous female character in a movie. Binoche was lucky enough to be able to do this movie. She delivers one of the best female performance of 2011 and deserves even more accolades. Her character might be a very serious one with a one dimensional and somewhat superbly annoying perceptions about certain things that being a male sounds unbelievably outrageous to me but the way she carries everything in the movie, it also feel like a very comical performance too. In some where she is talking in like 3 different languages and they are literally fighting, you can see that underneath this what looked like a strong woman with a very keen and logical ideas has a distraught and bubbly side as well. The way she talks in the movie with her hands moments and the change of expression bringing several emotions all together is just fantastic i mean it is literally a brave performance.

                Binoche is convincing in every single take of the movie and she grows and opens up tremendously with her character slowly at the whole span of the movie. She is beautiful and proves her talent is beyond any limitations when she talks in three different languages non stop without any sort of discomfort. I am blown away by her mind blowing performance. Abbas Kiarostami is a genius man who created a masterpiece. I loved it how in some scenes he will place the camera on characters like they are talking or in their own point of view. Binoche's character in the café while she is peeking out to look at the newly wed happy couple is the prime example where she seems to talk or make Miller's character look out as well and show him how happy theory are and how beautiful they look but he doesn't seems interested. Binoche seems to be talking to the camera, like to the viewer, which was something i found very interesting. I loved the point where she goes to the restroom to apply some make up touch to her face and the jewelry, she is looking at the mirror where the camera is so you have the chance to peek in to her happy self and her actually some personal private moment. Or the one brilliant moment which like this one, i will always remember is when the are in the car talking. I mean you have just met these characters but in the one big shot, you get a clear idea of how they are, their thoughts and perceptions about certain things and their overall personality. She will say something and you will see a clear change of expression on Miller's face and vice versa and the camera is right on them like you are looking at them through the car window or something. Genius camera work throughout the movie in every single scene.

                This movie is beyond the usual romantic dramedies of European cinema even though they are indie because this is entirely something else. I had a great time watching this movie, people call it boring, dull and pretentious which i didn't saw at all. These characters are so interesting that i could have seen them talking about things and life for hours and not get bored. Kiarostami knows exactly how to get the best out of his actors, the characters and even the scenery. Outstnaidng and excellent work in every single way and one of the best achievement. A movie that is not to be missed.

Grade: A