Adore-Movie1After the cinematic shambles that was Diana, all eyes are on Australian actress Naomi Watts to see if she can quickly recover from the vitriolic backlash the said feature received, and come up with the goods to prove to everyone it was just a mere blip in an otherwise illustrious career. Unfortunately she hasn’t even got close with her latest offering – starring in Anne Fontaine’s Adore, which, somehow, is equally as nauseating. There’s no denying she’s a talented performer, but does she not read scripts?

She plays Lil, who leads a blissful existence on a picturesque coastal town, living with her son Ian (Xavier Samuel) and neighbouring her oldest, best friend Roz (Robin Wright) – who also lives with her son Tom (James Frecheville). Though the latter is married to lecturer Harold (Ben Mendelsohn), when he moves to Sydney to take a new job, she finds herself increasingly attracted to Ian. Though it’s her best friend’s son and therefore naturally off limits, they become embroiled in a passionate, sexual affair. Though initially wanting to hide their love from Lil and Tom, they needn’t worry too much, because the corresponding pair have also fallen in love, as suddenly the dynamic between the two mothers changes dramatically. Questions are then raised about the longevity of these intimate affairs, while they strive not to let it disrupt their unique friendship.

As you can probably figure out from the synopsis, Adore is a completely illusory and nonsensical film, and is one that would benefit greatly had Fontaine not taken the source material quite so earnestly. This needs to either be more tongue-in-cheek and play on the frivolous nature of the premise in order to work, or alternatively go completely the opposite way and be dark and disturbing. It’s a completely messed up situation and if handled with more conviction and devastation it could be really affecting, yet we don’t get a sense for the severity of the scenario nor the destructive implications. It merely lingers nonchalantly between the two notions and instead makes this entire situation seems almost normal. The lacklustre screenplay doesn’t help either, with some dialogue so bad you can barely believe somebody had the audacity to say it out loud.

We don’t get into any of our characters’ heads either, though to be honest, there isn’t particularly much going on inside any of them. Fontaine touches on the theme that these two middle-aged women are growing old and seem reluctant to do so, almost clinging on to their youths through their new, teenage lovers – but it’s not explored nearly enough. There is just no depth to any of them, as the two males leads have about as much personality as a plank of wood. It’s not the actors fault as such, but they have been provided with such severely underwritten characters. Mendelsohn also plays a bland, nothing character, which seems almost inconceivable given he’s one of the finest actors out there at present. At one point he can be seen holding a baby, and, honestly, even the baby looks embarrassed to be in this movie.

Adore is just completely absurd and melodramatic, where major, life-altering occurrences happen to our protagonists and they just brush it off. It’s not normal to sleep with your best friend’s kids. It’s not normal to then embrace that fact, and form a sickly, incestuous foursome. That’s not cool, man. That’s not cool at all.