Posted August 28, 2008 in The Small Screen

As a movie, Married Life seems to operate under the “if you collect enough good actors, you’ll have a great film” line of thinking, but unfortunately, the sum of its goodness doesn’t quite add up to greatness.  Chris Cooper plays Harry, a staid sort of man who in late middle age has fallen in love with a younger woman (Rachel McAdams) but can’t figure out how to tell his wife (Patricia Clarkson) and so decides he must kill her to spare her the pain of betrayal and divorce. The story is narrated by his best friend, Rich (Pierce Brosnan) who develops his own interest in Harry’s mistress. Set in the late 1940s, and based on a mystery novel by British MI5 operative John Bingham, it works fine as a noirish thriller, but with a title like “Married Life” you kind of expect it to give you a little something more . . . something about life, or marriage, or both. The alternate endings on the DVD special features hint at the darker, deeper questions it might have asked (and were perhaps answered in the book), but apparently they didn’t fit in to the pretty movie they’d already made. Instead, Married Life just hints at those things and rests on the laurels of its cast and sumptuous production design to incompletely fill in the blanks. (Red Vaughn) 


Sony Pictures Classics, 91 minutes

Release date: September 2



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