Adore is an Australian film by French director, Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel) focusing on a taboo subject matter involving two mothers falling for each others sons. The premise may have been explored before in other films, but here it is the main focus of the movie and the entire drama centers on this dual relationship. For a character driven film, I felt that the film lacked some more chemistry between the characters. I was a little disappointed with this film because I was never drawn into the world of these people although I must say that the highlight of the film is the gorgeous cinematography thanks to the beautiful location where the story took place. The film looked great, but it lacked substance. I wasn't impressed with any of the performances although they weren't bad either. Naomi Watts comes from a superb performance in The Impossible, but here she was sort of the weak link because the chemistry she had with James Frecheville's character was nonexistent. The film does kind of suck you in to this small Australian town, but it never fulfills or delivers anything interesting. Fontaine barely explores the Freudian psychological elements involved, but it never really delves deeper. Perhaps she is waiting for the sequel in which she will have the two fathers date each other's daughters. I felt like she never took any risks with this taboo subject matter.
Lil (Naomi Watts) and Roz (Robin Wright) have been neighbors and best friends since they were young girls. They have spent their entire lives together in a small Australian beachside town. They both got married and had sons who also became great friends. Lil's husband died when her son Ian (Xavier Samuel) was still a very young boy. Roz and her husband Harold (Ben Mendelsohn) have had a great relationship along with their son Tom (James Frecheville). Tom and Ian spend most of their time surfing on the beach while Lil and Roz love to sunbathe. Their ideal life begins to shake when Harold is offered a job in Sydney. Roz and Tom don't want to leave, but Harold accepts the job. In Harold's absence Roz begins having an affair with Liz's son, Ian. When Tom discovers his friend with his mother he tells Lil about and they begin an affair of their own. The two couples fall for each other and seem to agree on continuing the unconventional affair against all odds.
The film might not have worked as a drama in its pure form because the conflict between the immorality of the characters' actions never felt real, but in my opinion it worked as a sort of allegory in life as to how we accept certain actions once others commit them. We seem to justify our actions because other people around us do the same thing. That is how I felt about this movie once Tom sees Ian get involved with his mother. He feels justified to do the same thing and none of the mothers can say anything because they are doing the same thing. In their small ideal world everything was bliss because their actions were justified by each other, but once their world gets bigger and new characters begin to enter the scene their actions don't seem as conventional or right as they did at first. That is when everything begins to shake and there are consequences for their actions. So even though this film didn't work as a psychological character driven movie, it does sort of play out well as a metaphor on life and how we justify our actions by the actions of others.