The Face of Love, 2014.
Directed by Arie Posin.
Starring Annette Bening, Ed Harris, Robin Williams, Jess Wexler and Amy Brenneman.
A widow starts a relationship with a man who looks identical to her deceased husband.
The Face of Love is an eerie love story that takes itself a bit too seriously to fully draw viewers in. As the film begins we see glimpses of Nikki (Annette Bening) and Garret’s (Ed Harris) loving marriage in both their home and on vacation in Mexico. They appear to be the perfect couple with a deep connection with each other. After Nikki discovers her husband’s dead body on the beach, Nikki is left to start a new life without her soulmate.
It quickly becomes clear that Nikki is having a hard time letting go of Garret. She thinks about him constantly, still lives in the same house that they shared, and doesn’t appear to want to start a new relationship with another man. Nikki has a grown daughter Summer (Jess Wexler) and an admiring neighbor (Robin Williams) but she is empty inside. In a nice narrative touch Nikki’s occupation is a “house stager” – a person who takes an empty home and fills it with furniture, art, and even newly baked bread to make it look like someone is living inside. Nikki is doing a good job of outwardly appearing alive to others, but she is clearly living in the past.
When Nikki stumbles across Tom, a man who looks nearly identical to her dead husband Garret (also played by Ed Harris), she can not help but work her way into his life. To its credit The Face of Love takes Annette Bening’s character from a very likeable woman who suffered a great tragedy, to a very unlikeable character who actively hides the fact of the resemblance between the two men from everyone else in the movie quite well. You know that everyone will eventually figure out why Nikki has latched on to Tom, a man also desperately looking for a connection to another, but you don’t know how and when that reveal will occur.
The Face of Love falters by moving too slowly and not giving the supporting cast members (Wexler, Williams, Brenneman) much to do. Only Wexler gets a scene that fully explores the emotional dynamite of the story line. The film would have greatly benefitted from more dramatic characters, perhaps even broadly melodramatic, than the more subdued and passive characters in the film. The Face of Love has excellent performances all around, but failed to truly draw me in as a viewer to care much about the fate of the characters.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Amy Richau is a freelance entertainment and sports writer. Follow her on Twitter.