Review: And While We Were Here

and while we were here

And While We Were Here is set on the Italian island of Ischia. It’s full of picture postcard views and gorgeous scenery. The film stars Kate Bosworth as Jane, Iddo Goldberg as her viola playing husband, and Jamie Blackley as a young American slacker Jane meets while in Italy.

Kate Bosworth and Jamie Blackley in And While We Were Here
Kate Bosworth and Jamie Blackley in And While We Were Here

Overall, And While We Were Here is subdued and reflective. Even the “fun” escapades Jane has with her young American are muted. The story, seemingly about a love affair, is really about loss and the letting go of loss.

Jane and her husband are in Italy for his work as a musician. She’s writing a book about her grandmother’s experiences in World War II and listens to recorded conversations with her grandmother a great deal of the time. (The grandmother is voiced by Claire Bloom.) This couple have suffered several miscarriages. They are still hanging in, still care for each other, but the marriage isn’t working.

The young American lover is merely a way for Jane to accept the inevitable consequences of her losses and move on with her life. He’s a way to unlock from the past and move toward the future.

As the film ended, I decided I would give the film a rating of 3 out of 5 stars, meaning it was worth watching but not fabulous. Then the credits rolled and Jennifer Warnes starting singing “Famous Blue Raincoat” and the whole story suddenly made sense. It was a movie version of “Famous Blue Raincoat.” I looked the film up and, indeed, the writer and director Kat Coiro was quoted as saying that she was inspired by the Leonard Cohen song. This knowledge doesn’t make we want to improve my rating, but it certainly puts the film into context and deepens my understanding.

If you enjoy introspective films that unfold slowly and deal with human efforts to “go clear,” you will enjoy this film.

Here’s the trailer.

The film was released in 2012. I found it on Netflix, so I’m sure it’s available on other streaming services as well.

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