January 31, 2012

Certified Copy Review

I'd heard about how amazing this film was quite some time ago. I was hoping it would come to Netflix instant, so I was pretty pumped when it finally did. However I didn't watch it right away. I was a little intimidated by it. The subject matter seemed a little heavy, and I don't claim to know much about art. Not to mention a portion of it is subtitled.

I didn't know if I'd like it or not. I started Certified Copy with no intention of finishing it in one sitting. I figured I get it going, get bored, and have to move onto something else. That was not the case. I was so engaged that I watched the entire thing and the time flew by.

It is hard to describe what this movie is about. I guess it is mostly about art. It is about the value of the original authentic piece of art in comparison to a reproduction. At first, that is all the movie is about. Then it makes a transition. It starts to be about love, and trying to hang onto something that has been lost, or maybe it was never there. I haven't thought a lot about how the two themes of the film parallel one another, but surely it is worthy of contemplation. I guess I didn't leave the film looking for understanding. I didn't strive to make sense of it all. It was heartbreaking, and I just absorbed and appreciated that feeling.

As I eluded to earlier this film makes a transition. You think one thing is happening, but slowly your perception of what is going on changes. I wouldn't call it a twist because it happens so gradually, but it is one of those things that makes you want to re-watch a movie right after it is over. Re-watching it would help me understand a lot more about the relationship featured. As it stands my brain can't totally reconcile the difference between what I thought was happening and what it seems like was happening by the end.

Certified Copy is very French, and sometimes pretentious. There is a lot of talking about things that don't really seem to matter. I went in thinking it would be heavy and boring and overly arty. I was amazed by how much I got into the story, despite a few moments that validated my cautiousness. I watched Richard Linklater's films Before Sunrise and Before Sunset last year. Certified Copy reminded me a lot of those films, but it has more weight. Part of the charm of the Linklater films is that the situation presented almost seems removed from "real" life. They are almost living in an alternate universe when they are together. Certified Copy does not take that luxury. It plays with that idea of whether the love felt in a romantic 24 hour fling (or first several years of marriage) even really count. It starts off with the same sense of budding romance, and ends with the harsh reality of life. 

I'm not sure I can say I enjoyed watching this film. It was almost painful... the end especially. It is the anecdote to every romantic comedy that ends with the man crashing a wedding to exclaim his true love. My first reaction is that Certified Copy is an accomplishment in storytelling. I want to watch it again to see if I still feel that way. 

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