First-Rate Cast Stuck with Third-Rate Script
Release Date: June 20, 2014
Starring: Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde,
Adrien Brody, Moran Atias,
Mila Kunis, James Franco,
Maria Bello, Kim Basinger
Runtime: E: ** First-Rate Cast Stuck
with Third-Rate Script **
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics/Sony
Director: Paul Haggis
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Paul Haggis
Writer: Paul Haggis
Address Comments To:Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, Co-Presidents, Sony Pictures Classics (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 833-8833; Fax: (212) 833-8844
Web Page: www.sonyclassics.com; Email: Sony_Classics@spe.sony.com
The movie follows three interwoven stories. However, it focuses foremost on Michael (Liam Neeson), a Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction author living in a Paris hotel suite while finishing his latest book. After leaving his wife Elaine (Kim Basinger), he’s is having a wild affair with Anna (Olivia Wilde), a young journalist who wants to write and publish fiction.
Meanwhile, Scott (Adrian Brody) is a shady American businessman visiting Italy in order to steal designs from fashion houses. He meets a mysterious woman named Monika (Moran Atias) in a bar. He finds out she is about to be reunited with her young daughter until the money she has saved to pay a smuggler to bring her to Italy is stolen. Scott feels compelled to help her and travels to Southern Italy with her, only to find that he might be getting conned by her and others.
The third story follows Julia (Mila Kunis), a former soap opera actress caught in a custody battle for her 6-year-old son with her husband Rick (James Franco), a New York artist. Depleted of funds and desperate for a job, she becomes a hotel maid in the same bar she once stayed in as a star, while her lawyer tries to get her one last chance to win her child back.
These three stories may each sound interesting, and writer-director Haggis has proven able to weave multiple stories together in the past with his Best Picture-winning CRASH, but here he fails miserably. As the movie develops, the movie’s settings and plot become ever more confusing, as it appears that characters who are said to be in different cities are in fact in the same ones. Also, many of the characters sometimes enter and exit each other’s lives through extremely preposterous connections.
At the end of the screening, MOVIEGUIDE®’s reviewer asked the entire room filled with critics if anyone had any idea what the plot was trying to say by the end. The result was explosive laughter and shared confusion. Another terrible aspect of the movie is its score, which is overwrought with treacly, repetitive piano playing.
It’s all a shame that a fine cast is wasted, as each of them gives their all to their parts in this mess. Place the blame on writer-director Paul Haggis.
THIRD PERSON also contains strong lewd content, foul language and explicit nudity to go along with its Non-Christian worldview. This objectionable content is only slightly offset by brief moral, redemptive elements.
These three stories may each sound interesting, but the filmmakers fail miserably to bring them to life. As the movie develops, the settings and plot become ever more confusing and even preposterous. THIRD PERSON also contains strong lewd content, foul language, and explicit nudity to go along with its Non-Christian, Romantic worldview. This objectionable content is only slightly offset by brief moral, redemptive elements. Extreme caution is advised for THIRD PERSON.