The Edge of Love

Posted by schnolis on March 25th, 2009 filed in Reviews

The Edge of LoveOf the many kinds of titles for movies, The Edge of Love is one of my favorite types. The most basic is just the name of a main character, like Rocky or Edward Scissorhands. Other movies try to generalize a main theme or plot, like A League of Their Own or Snakes on a Plane. Others highlight a key line, like As Good As It Gets or a reference to another work of literature like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. One of the most interesting and creative types are the titles that extend the ideas or philosophies of the movie and challenge you, the viewer, to pick out what the title might me. I think the Edge of Love is one of these movies.

The story begins during the second World War in London, during the period of perpetual bombing of London by the Germans. People fled for safety underground, and tried to carry on their lives in subterrainean tunnels and caverns. One of our for main characters, Vera (Kiera Knightly) is a singer, entertaining the citizens of London and the soldiers preparing to leave for the front lines. She meets an old lover, Dylan Thomas (Matthew Rhys) and find herself attracted to him once more. Vera is shocked to discover that he has wed Caitlin (Sienna Miller), but it doesn’t diminish her affection for Dylan. Caitlin and Vera take a liking to each other, and their relationship becomes the central interest of the film. Also during this period, a soldier, William (Cillian Murphy) becomes interested in Vera and the two marry before William is deployed.

But when Vera becomes pregnant things change. She’s forced to retreat to the countryside with Caitlin and Dylan to raise her son. Without any way to make money, though, she lives on her husband’s military salary, supporting herself and her friends. While the war drags on, everyday life becomes a chore. When William eventually comes home, he is suffering from the effects of war. He is confused, depressed, and frightened. And poor. He doesn’t believe that the son that Vera has birthed is his own, and he fights with Dylan and his intellectual friends. Vera is struggling with her own feelings for William, and while she thinks she loves him, his gruff exterior will not allow her in.

The characters in this movie all care for each other, but their actions often fall short of love. To me it’s part of what the title really meant. People in a time of war and strife struggle to understand what they’re truly feeling, and confusion dominates. Life on the edge of love must be terrifying. This movie, while far from perfect, attempts to convey some of this turmoil, and mostly succeeds.

What I liked: The stunning camera work for the first section of the movie. It was almost like remembering a dream, or watching through a kaleidescope. Very interesting use of mirrors. Witty dialog.

What I disliked: Slurred speech presented at a low volume. Maybe part of that was just our theater, but it was difficult to make out things here and there, in particular in the first half of the movie.

Rating:7 of 10

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