To say Adore is a misfire would be putting it lightly. A swan dive off the cliffs of good taste is more like it. Adore is not only a wicked boo-boo filed under the heading “films that are just plain wrong”, but it’s a howlingly bad one.
There were multiple times where Anne Fontaine’s film had me at a loss for words. However, there were other scenes where Fontaine had me expressing out loud how ridiculous all of this was. Adore had me all around gobsmacked.
It’s too bad Fontaine is going for a sensual and sophisticated erotic feel with Adore, because about 80 minutes of her film is prime for that late night crowd who likes to yell back at the screen. After that, the film overstays its welcome.
The novella to which it was adapted from (The Grandmothers by Doris Lessing) may have been a serious work. When that story is blown up to cinematic proportions, it plays as absolute camp.
The filmmaker is using all her will to not make matters trashy. She realizes there are hints of romantic perceptions through these bizarre relationships between mothers and their lifelong friend’s son.
I can’t knock Fontaine for trying to expose interesting tidbits about affection. She’s a daredevil for going “there” with her work. There’s certainly an interesting (if ludicrous) comparison between intimacy that stems from pure love and sex that spurs from spite. The problem is the audience is always blinded by the fact that we’re watching older women and much younger scantily clad men (to whom they’ve watched grow up) express these provocative discussions. It’s inappropriate and awkward no matter how you slice it.
I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt for a paragraph or so. In a crazy mixed-up world, Adore could’ve worked. If Christopher Hampton’s screenplay was cautiously developed and if Fontaine’s direction allowed her actors to be more vulnerable, the audience could’ve bought in to the story.
The drama does a seamless job at portraying time lapse, but the budding romances are extremely rushed. The only possible way the film could explain why these two men are suddenly attracted to their mom’s friend is that somewhere between ages 10 and 20, puberty mutated them into perverted creeps – they can’t control their urges. Sounds like an upcoming Troma flick.
Adore cuts loose any sort of explanations or logic to any emotions or reactions. Everyone seems to be upset for an instance and then follows up by being very forgiving. The same can be said about innocent times that jerkily transition to adulterated lust.
There’s no subtlety or carefulness to any of the subject matter; which is why this would’ve totally been a riot if Fontaine went full-tilt schlock and asked audience members to let their hair down.
It’s also a shame to see gorgeous cinematography and a soothing – if repetitively used – score wasted on an opportunity that was dead on arrival.
If anyone gains anything out of Adore, it’s producers looking to make a Basic Instinct remake. Anne Fontaine? If you get that phone call asking you to direct that reboot, you better accept it. Just give in and embrace your inner hot mess.