Certified Copy (12A)

Film

Drama

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Aug 31 2010

On the evidence of its chic promotional poster and a trailer intercut with wistful platitudes (‘He… a writer in search of meaning. She… an art dealer in search of originality’), you’d swear that ‘Certified Copy’ was the result of a ludicrous clerical error saddling Iranian maestro Abbas Kiarostami with the script for a droll coffee-table rom-com while, elsewhere in Europe, a baseball-capped minnow struggled to fashion an abstract visual essay on the nature of the subjective conscious. Of course, that’s not entirely the case. But while it’s true that Kiarostami appears to have drawn a line under a decade of provocative visual experimentation – resulting in such poetic cinematic workouts as ‘Five’, ‘Ten’ and ‘Shirin’ – not long into his latest it becomes clear that this is just as challenging, ambiguous and moving as anything he’s made before.

Like those earlier titles, the act of consuming ‘Certified Copy’ requires a willingness to engage in a game of intellectual hide-and-seek. In the past, Kiarostami challenged us to think about off-camera space – what is happening outside the frame that could influence what’s on the screen. Here, he offers a decontextualised fragment of a relationship which only begins to make sense if we consider the details outside the story’s timeframe. Juliette Binoche stars as a ruffled, slightly manic antique dealer, opposite English opera baritone William Shimell as an arrogant cultural commentator on a brief Italian stopover to deliver a lecture on the value of copies in art. Over the course of a single afternoon, they meet, drive into the Tuscan countryside, go for lunch, wander around a gallery and discuss the nuances of art, love, family and possible discrepancies in Shimell’s thesis. When a waitress naturally assumes the pair to be romantically entangled, Kiarostami takes that cue to have his characters mutate into what appears to be a bickering wedded couple. The game is set: is this love or just a copy?

There’s a pleasingly self-aware quality to the dialogue in the film, as if Kiarostami is anticipating the inevitable auteurist deconstructions of its meticulous structure and composition. In a telling line, Shimell admits, ‘I only wrote the book to convince myself of my own ideas,’ as if this rambling tale is organically working itself out as it goes along. Binoche and Shimell are superb: she expressive, impulsive and emotional; he haughty, dogmatic yet vulnerable. If there’s a problem with the film, it’s the idea that two people would instinctively choose to immerse themselves in unbroken role play.

It makes the ambiguities ring a little false and dampens the easy naturalism to which the film obviously aspires. But if Kiarostami’s fingerprints are occasionally evident on the screen, the pair’s off-kilter chemistry and the unquestionable artistry of the filmmaking prevents this from descending into an exercise in cold, technical pyrotechnics. And in true Kiarostami style, the final shot is an absolute doozy.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Sep 3, 2010

Duration:

106 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:8
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:4
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|31
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valerie spentzos

an enchanting film that combines sensuous beauty of person and place with searchhing questions on life, marriage, authenticity.

valerie spentzos

an enchanting film that combines sensuous beauty of person and place with searchhing questions on life, marriage, authenticity.

Zoe Matthews

I mostly loved the film. It had much resonance for me. Can one maintain authenticity in marriage, when the exchange of the heart becomes the exchange of the domestic.

Marcia

Eric - perhaps those who did enjoy this film were on drugs? (Those who did enjoy this film are also very much in the minority.) Are you so small minded that you can't respect the opinions of other people who've left their impressions of this film?

Eric Wenderby

This was a really compelling, enjoyable film, and over far too quickly! Those who didn't enjoy it (and even walked out!) are lacking in imagination...

Eric Wenderby

This was a really compelling, enjoyable film, and over far too quickly! Those who didn't enjoy it (and even walked out!) are lacking in imagination...

Ricky

Seldom has a movie split opinion so srongly.-- 5 stars or 1 star? I have been following readers reviews with great interest having written the first to appear in Time Out without seeing the movie. The 1 star reviews almost put me off but what a delight to find that for me this was a 5 star movie. I respectfully suggest that to enjoy this movie you have to be ready to be confronted with your own unloving responses to those you love. This movie show brilliantly how over time romantic loving affection gradually transforms into companionability mixed up with hateful rejections of the beloveds incompatabilities with ones own values and preferences. This transformation from the romantic hopes and desires of lovers to the married state with its endless repeated complaints about the other whether in thoughts or expressed in angry words is compressed into the space of a single Sunday surounded by beauty. My response to this display of my own absurdities in relationship to those I love was to laugh with delight after the intial shock. See it, you will either love this movie or hate it, there are no 3 star reviews!

Ricky

Seldom has a movie split opinion so srongly.-- 5 stars or 1 star? I have been following readers reviews with great interest having written the first to appear in Time Out without seeing the movie. The 1 star reviews almost put me off but what a delight to find that for me this was a 5 star movie. I respectfully suggest that to enjoy this movie you have to be ready to be confronted with your own unloving responses to those you love. This movie show brilliantly how over time romantic loving affection gradually transforms into companionability mixed up with hateful rejections of the beloveds incompatabilities with ones own values and preferences. This transformation from the romantic hopes and desires of lovers to the married state with its endless repeated complaints about the other whether in thoughts or expressed in angry words is compressed into the space of a single Sunday surounded by beauty. My response to this display of my own absurdities in relationship to those I love was to laugh with delight after the intial shock. See it, you will either love this movie or hate it, there are no 3 star reviews!

peter

if you enjoy a traditional rather wordy art house film, this really is for you.I found myself unexpextedly emotionally moved by the interplay of ideas and emotion , lots to think about and discuss. Binoche is as ravishingly beautiful as the Tuscan villiages.

Andrew

I admire Binoche - she's managed to steer clear of mainstream publicity, and appeared in some good movies - but this isn't one of them. I'm happy to go so far as to say, this is surely the worst of them. The plot and script are a mess. Though I don't doubt Kiarostami's held in great esteem by many, the fact of the matter is when you direct/produce movies, you're effectively inviting people to spend money to view your work – in return they’ll want to enjoy themselves and feel there’s some kind of reciprocity and value for money involved. This movie reminded me of the random way a very young child attempts to tell a story - completely random and nonsensical - unfortunately there’s very little of interest here that makes you want to make sense of it. Just because Kiarostami's highly regarded doesn’t mean he doesn’t slip up - just like the rest – you need only see Stephen Frears’ attempt at “Tamara Drewe� for another example. There are much better movies to see than this.

spurtle

The film provided the inspiration for an hour's post-screening review for my wife and I in a Pizza Express afterwards. A sumptious, bitter-sweet, serious-funny, wistful, intelligent film that rewards concentration and a willingness to ponder the many questions which it raises but does not answer - about life, love, relationships and art, amid beautiful Tuscan locations.

spurtle

The film provided the inspiration for an hour's post-screening review for my wife and I in a Pizza Express afterwards. A sumptious, bitter-sweet, serious-funny, wistful, intelligent film that rewards concentration and a willingness to ponder the many questions which it raises but does not answer - about life, love, relationships and art, amid beautiful Tuscan locations.

Ian Hallsworth

I have walked out of two films in my life - and this was one of them. Complete and utter bilge - pretentious clap-trap of the kind that gives art house films a bad name. It may have triggered a post-film debate about 'meaning' (or rather, 'what the dickens was going on?', but theh overwhelming feeling was one of anger at being ripped off for £12.50 each. Avoid.

Matthew G

Managed to last 40 minutes, before giving up: it quickly got boring eavesdropping on a meandering conversation between two deeply annoying people. It may have been better for television, A Short Film About Authenticity maybe, as it just doesn't work as a long film. Its deepest flaw is that if forgets that cinema is primarily a visual medium and not made for 100 minute conversations.

Terry

This film almost completely fails. What was the point of the whole role-play/ambiguous copy of a husband/husband thing? I have no idea, but enjoyed watching Juliette Binoche, and trying to make it make sense.

movielover

as always, kiarostami has some idea which he cannot develop well. this film tries to be a few things, but ends up being nothing. another one of his dull movies. i thought i'd give him one more chance, but what a waste of petrol and electricity.

David

I'm afraid I felt like I was locked in a mid-life crisis group therapy session for middle class aesthetes who talk too much. That said, at least it was short.

Marcie

Victoria Wood once recalled a visit to a Little Chef - describing the speed at which she got served by the waitress comparable to Jacque Cousteau coming towards her at the bottom of the ocean. Truth be told, I found this film slow and dull which, given it's been given fairly good reviews, I found surprising. Then again, I can think of quite a few Time Out reviews which with time have been at odds with the vast number of audience reviews beneath it. The comment about the peevish acting's spot on - it was wearing after a while. I guess it's important for those mature enough to understand good and bad cinema to equally appreciate subjectivity - everyone's entitled to their own view - and not berate them, or the age range in which we think they might fall. That's a little like assuming all professional film reviewers get their reviews spot on. They don't.

david glowacki

Normally cannot stand Binoche's horribly self conscous stilted acting.She is not too bad here though,but reverts to type when speaking American English.The film is an adults version of that Julie Delphy film of wandering round Vienna in one day.It is purly a conversation piece with no sex drugs and RnR.l liked it,it moved me at times and challenged me intellectually,a worthwhile film.It remains to be seen if the classic British non nonesense early 30 something would be able to tolerate such an ambivalent film.Still, by the time they finish their bucket of popcorn their outsize coke drink and visit to the toilet the film is almost over.

Mike

I was really looking forward to seeing this film tonight, but found it very disappointing. Is it my imagination or has William Shimell studied at the Zoe Wannamaker "School of Peevish Acting"? I couldnt engage with this film, and normally love anything with Juliette Binoche. A shame.

JeanMurphy

People this film is called "Certified Copy"... Kiarostami has created a 'copy' of the European arthouse movie and deconstructed it. It's always amusing to see people dismiss films of this sort as 'boring' or 'pretentiuos'... pretending to be what though? It is a fascinating and relevant deconstruction of our perceptions of relationshipes, love, art and cinema. A tour-de -force

JeanMurphy

People this film is called "Certified Copy"... Kiarostami has created a 'copy' of the European arthouse movie and deconstructed it. It's always amusing to see people dismiss films of this sort as 'boring' or 'pretentiuos'... pretending to be what though? It is a fascinating and relevant deconstruction of our perceptions of relationshipes, love, art and cinema. A tour-de -force

Ricky

Anything at all by Kiarostami is worth more than a hundred cliche ridden Hollywood rom-coms fostering the illusion that passionate romance is the peak of what life offers. The one star reviews convince me this movie is well worth seeing!

Ricky

Anything at all by Kiarostami is worth more than a hundred cliche ridden Hollywood rom-coms fostering the illusion that passionate romance is the peak of what life offers. The one star reviews convince me this movie is well worth seeing!

angel

The first time I have ever been just desperate to leave the cinema. So pretentious, it makes you feel embarrassed for the director. Shimmel, despite apparent efforts, can't let go of his operatic mannerisms. Add the pseudo-intellectual, trying-too-hard dialogue and you'll just want to forget that experience, pronto!

JacksonCaines

Mark got it in the bag. Don't believe the hype, people; this is coming from a person who likes their films difficult and European. This film is confused, contrived and irritating. I was practically screaming at the onscreen characters to stop them spouting their pretentious dribble.

Mark

The "mise-en-scène" you describe is no more than economical and minimalistic constraints on a Director who has a weak script cobbled together with some half hearted "theories" shoe horned into sketches which thrown together somehow make a narrative. The most boring movie I have had the displeasure to experience. No amount of intellectualised rambling can save this polished turd. Binoche is the only good thing.