Movie Review
The Face of Love
The Face of Love poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published March 9, 2014
US Release: March 7, 2014

Directed by: Arie Posin
Starring: Robin Williams , Ed Harris , Annette Bening

PG-13 for brief drug references
Running Time: 92 minutes
38 of 111
Starts off as an okay drama about loss in a family and then turns into a rather absurd supernatural drama that doesnít make any sense.
The Face of Love starts off as an okay drama about loss in a family and then turns into a rather absurd supernatural drama that doesnít make any sense but is supported by a couple of fine performances. Annette Bening plays a grieving woman who lost her husband played by Ed Harris who collapsed on their beach and died suddenly, and then encounters a man also played by Ed Harris who seems like a reincarnation of her husband and tries to romance him into a relationship. Very little gets revealed about her dead husband in the early stretch of the film even though we get a few brief flashbacks to their relationship and so Harris gets little to work with in the beginning which keeps this from starting out as a good film. Once the lookalike-version of Harris enters the picture, the actor has much more to work with dramatically but the supernatural element is so odd and unbelievable that it takes away from what couldíve been an effective drama about the grieving process after a death.

Robin Williams co-stars as Beningís neighbor and good friend but heís not given very much to do in this film and has limited screen time, which is a shame because his personality here is very likable. Williams wants to romance Bening after the loss of her husband but that comes to a halt with the presence of the new Harris. Bening also has a daughter who seems to be in her twenties and she tries to hide the presence of her new relationship so that her daughter doesnít freak out about how similar the two men happen to look. If this sounds odd, it is, and if it sounds hard to believe, it is, and unfortunately the film doesnít add up to anything profound and it doesnít leave anything to take away from the experience in any meaning.

The film is lucky to have these three actors onboard because the performances are all solid but the screenplay leaves you scratching your head at a certain point and continues to be absurd. First I admired the tone of the picture and Beningís acting but then it took on a weird mystery tone that didnít quite gel with what started out, and then the lookalike story just gets sillier and sillier. The actors here are all pros and they keep the experience from being a bad film that doesnít work at all. But even with the level of pros on display, itís pretty close to a bad film because the story doesnít make any sense. What starts out as a film thatís a slight cut above average turns into an unbelievable almost-ghost-story. The new Harris character is well-performed and subtly nuanced but the believability is extremely slim. I can see why all three actors decided to invest in this screenplay because itís probably more unique than most of the projects they get offered, but the uniqueness fades once you and try and accept it all.

All the film does is ask the audience what it might feel like if a dead husband returned in another body. Itís a strange concept that I think couldíve worked in a stronger screenplay and the script is the big problem. The actors are all game to do whatever was necessary for the given parts and so itís all up to the script. The film needed to go somewhere in the end or present some kind of twist to make everything come together and the ending that it reaches is unfulfilling and anti-climactic. Itís clearly a passion project for everybody involved but passion projects usually have layers of meaning and quality to digest after. This is a hardcore indie project in that mainstream prospects will be impossible and the only admirers are going to be at a couple of art-house theaters in major domestic cities. Itís going to have a small audience in certain selective areas and most will ignore the film and I wonít blame them.
Lee's Grade: C
Ranked #38 of 111 between Big Eyes (#37) and Dear White People (#39) for 2014 movies.
Lee's Overall Grading: 3025 graded movies
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