Adore

Adore

At Sundance, where the first showing was nearly laughed off the screen, Adore, based on the Doris Lessing novella The Grandmothers, was known as Two Mothers. You should know it as something to avoid. Though it sure is purty. The setting is a golden bay in western Australia where besties, Lil (Naomi Watts) and Roz (Robin Wright), lounge their gym-toned bodies on beaches and harbor a lesbian yen they never act upon. Nothing happens even after Lil's husband dies in a car wreck and Roz's better half (Ben Mendelsohn) takes a job out of town. What are these two mothers to do? Why not have sex with their sons, both young surfer gods. Each other's sons, I mean. Lil's boy, Ian (Xavier Samuel), gets Roz in the sack first. Then Lil, simmering with revenge, thinks it's only right to get intimate with Roz's son, Tom (James Frecheville). Then each couple falls hard. Really. They love each other. And it lasts for years. Are you with me? I'll just be a minute more. Watts and Wright are two of the best and most beautiful actresses anywhere. And it's no hardship watching them writhe around with naked boys. But to what purpose? Director Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel) takes a solemn approach that won't quit. Working from a script by the gifted Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons, Atonement), who seems to have traded his wit for a paycheck, Fontaine manages the trick of making sex joyless. Like porn. Then she tops that by draining her film of variety, longing and feminist insight. Like farce. Ouch.