Forty Shades of Blue

Film

Time Out says

For reasons never fully addressed—and it's to this otherwise artful movie's detriment that they aren't—the taciturn characters in Ira Sachs's moving domestic drama are unable to effect change in their lives. Instead they sleepwalk through their relationships, unfulfilled and unhappy.

"I'm sorry, I didn't hear you," a startled baby-sitter says when pensive Russian migr Laura (Korzun) enters her own sprawling, dimly lit kitchen. "I know," the willowy blond responds, with resignation. Sound, particularly divorced of meaning, plays a big role in this film, as the ostensible center of Laura's more-than-comfortable Memphis life is the man with whom she lives and has a three-year-old son, aging music producer Alan James (Torn). Alan's estranged son from a previous marriage, Michael (Burrows), pays a visit. After far too long, he and Laura begin an affair born not of genuine love but of convenience and loneliness. As such, their union and subsequent anguished dismantling seems more like a sign of life's crushing meaninglessness than a reprieve from it.

Sachs has a gift for capturing agony. There are stirring, languorous shots of Laura as she weeps inconsolably, tears streaming back into her ears, in the face of her husband's clumsy attempts at tenderness. But as a whole the movie functions like too many of the symbols it deploys, making a sound but failing to say enough of anything.—Alison Rosen

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