Chris (Bale) is vegetating in the commuter-belt: job, wife, baby, it's all horribly predictable. The sudden arrival of his old friend Toni (Ross) only makes matters worse. Toni is still living out their youthful dreams of freedom, sex and no strings attached. They go on the town for old time's sake, and Toni takes Chris to a punk gig - we're in the 1970s - where Chris only pretends to enjoy being spat at. Then the flashbacks start: Paris in the '60s. Chris is a young photographer in his own authentic atelier, with his own authentic French bohemian girlfriend who likes to make authentic bohemian love. Where did it all go wrong? It's hard to make the suburbs look sexy, and this production of Julian Barnes' novel never solves the problem. The script is gently amusing and not unintelligent, Bale captures a very English quality of befuddlement, and gets sensitive support from Ross, Watson (the wife), and Zylberstein (the girlfriend), but Chris's mild inertia slowly suffocates the material. You wouldn't necessarily switch it off on TV, but your finger might hover over the fast forward button.
Cast and crew