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Do you want to 'Live Here Anymore'?


Photo
photo courtesy of warner brothers pictures
Laura Dern and Naomi Watts star in "We Don't Live Here Anymore." The film follows the two characters and their husbands through marital turmoil.
By Celeste Meiffren
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, September 10, 2004
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I have often wondered why so many people our age are terrified of marriage. Now I know.

"We Don't Live Here Anymore" is marketed as "an adult drama." Not understanding exactly why, yet fitting into the necessary age category, I thought this meant me. It didn't.

This film chronicles the lives of two married couples, Jack and Terry (Mark Ruffalo and Laura Dern) and Hank and Edith (Peter Krause and Naomi Watts). Both of the marriages are slowly unraveling, and all four of the characters are, in some way, searching for a way out. The crux of the movie is that they all look outside of their marriages for saving.

There is sexual tension between both Jack and Edith, and Hank and Terry. Infidelity never seemed so necessary in a film. All of the characters are so bored and unhappy with their spouse that the audience feels it necessary for the characters to become unfaithful as a means for happiness. When the tension finally finds a breaking point, the infidelity becomes a sort of catharsis, which will either drive the couples apart, or make their unions stronger.

We Don't Live Here Anymore

8 out of 10


Warner Independent Pictures
Rated: R
103 min.
Now Playing
Website: http://wip.warnerbros.com/wedontlive/

The story is solid, the directing and cinematography are beautiful, but the film goes from great to striking through the acting.

Hank is the character with the most power in the film. He is a womanizing professor who has never been faithful to his wife. His self-involvement and need for literary success drives him to orchestrate a sort of "wife swapping" between all of the characters. His motivation, it would seem, is to create a story that he can write about for his book. Peter Krause ("Six Feet Under") gives a startling performance, as he creates Hank through sleaze and moral mediocrity.

Edith wants to be loved. Hank's detachment from their relationship leaves Edith feeling empty, so she looks to Jack for love. Watts' performance is also top-notch, as she portrays Edith with a lobotomized sadness.

Terry is a struggling housewife who is attracted to Hank, yet deeply in love with her husband, Jack. She doesn't know who she is anymore, she drinks during the day and she has become bored with her existence. Dern's ability to create such a beautifully tragic character will have you wondering why she isn't in more films.

Jack, in some ways, is the savior of the movie. He both begins the chaos and ends it. He is the one character who loves all of the other characters, yet acts from a self-interested place. Ruffalo is an acting prodigy. His performance in this film just proves that. (If you liked his performance in this, rent "You Can Count on Me.")

Overall, this movie instills a sense of claustrophobia and vulnerability regarding marriage and adult relationships. It's a very dark film, which finds its light through acts of immorality.

I learned three important things from this movie: 1) Being middle-aged is scary, 2) Marriage is scary and 3) Infidelity is scary. I'm terrified.



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