The Law of Enclosures
Young and in love. Beatrice and Henry (Polley and Fletcher) on their wedding day...
dir-scr John Greyson
with Sarah Polley, Brendan Fletcher, Diane Ladd, Sean McCann, Shirley Douglas, Kristen Thomson, Rob Stefaniuk, Victor Cowie
release UK Apr.01 llgff
00/Canada 1h41
4 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
London L&G Film Fest This is one of those immensely artistic films that you'll either love or hate, depending on your ability to let yourself go in the cinema. Beatrice and Henry (Polley and Fletcher) are a young couple in love despite all kinds of awful circumstances, including the fact that Henry has a brain tumour. The Gulf War is raging in the Middle East, and as their love deepens Henry faces a literally do-or-die surgery. Meanwhile an older couple, Bea and Hank (Ladd and McCann), are in their twilight years, trying to sort out the mess of their marriage--years of bitterness and alienation that have left them cold and heartless.

Obviously, we're seeing the same couple at the beginning and end of their relationship, and the film (and Dale Peck's novel on which it's based) intriguingly sets both stories in 1991, as if the 40 intervening years never happened and they've been stuck in time ... like Groundhog Day without the laughs. The performances are astonishing and very intimate; Ladd is the standout with a tricky, internal examination of a woman in her 60s trying to make up for a lot of lost time. Greyson imaginatively assembles the film, including imagery and ideas that fit in intriguingly (this is an oil-producing area of Canada, cut to Kuwait!) and others that never quite click (a mysterious red deer?) but have an otherworldly beauty. Yes, the whole thing is so oblique that it will drive some viewers mad. But there are serious rewards here if you let its message wash over you. The film has a lot to say, on many levels, about the nature of relationships, especially how resentment can creep in and create isolation and anger. And how it's never too soon--or too late--for reconciliation.
adult themes and situations, language 11.Apr.01 llgff

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall