Conversations With Other Women

on August 11, 2006 by Ed Scheid
A fresh treatment invigorates "Conversations With Other Women's" potentially conventional subject. A man and a woman (Aaron Eckhart and Helena Bonham Carter) meet at a wedding reception. They begin some sharp comic banter with the effervescence of a good champagne. She jokes that she was the seventh choice for bridesmaid, called only after one of the earlier chosen ones was unable to come. The woman has flown in from London for the wedding and will leave the next day. As the couple (their names are never given) flirts, their previous connection is eventually revealed.

Hans Canosa, making his feature directorial debut, gives "Conversations" a unique style called "dual-frame." Two cameras were used throughout the shoot for each scene and take, and the film is shown with a continual split screen. A character's reaction is shown simultaneously to what the other says. This enhances the emotional effect of the dialogue and is particularly effective when the conversations turns more serious, probing the characters' lost opportunities and regrets. The split screen also shows the same character from a different angle and visualizes a character's version of a past meeting or a current relationship.

Though other characters, including their younger selves, appear, the focus is continually on the couple. The film would not be as successful without the impressive range Bonham Carter and Eckhart give their characters. Bonham Carter is captivating in a role very different from the period heroines that first brought her notice. Screenwriter Gabrielle Zevin skillfully changes the tone of the dialogue and, by only gradually revealing details of the couple's past and present, keeps these "Conversations" continually intriguing. Starring Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhart. Directed by Hans Canosa. Written by Gabrielle Zevin. Produced by Ram Bergman, Bill McCutchen and Kerry Bardem. A Fabrication Films release. Comedy/Drama. Rated R for language and sexual content. Running time: 84 min

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