Review: Adore

The poster for the movie Adore
The poster for the movie Adore

Let me explain what you’re looking at in the poster for Adore. If it makes you cringe, the you don’t need to bother to read the rest of this review.

From the left you see Lil (Naomi Watts), a 40 something mom. She’s holding hands and making googly eyes at Tom, (James Frecheville) the 20 something son of her best friend Roz. Next you see Roz, (Robin Wright) a 40 something mom who is snuggling with Ian, (Xavier Samuel) who is the 20 something son of her best friend Lil.

Still with me?

Okay, I’ll back up a bit. Lil and Roz grew up together on the sun-drenched coast of New South Wales in Australia. They lived near each other, they swam together and worked together and stayed friends. As married women, they raised their sons side by side and the sons were BFFs just like their moms.

As the moms hit their 40s several things happened at once. Lil’s husband died. Roz’s husband moved to Sydney for a job and they divorced because Roz wouldn’t leave her idyllic home by the sea. The two boys turned into young men who were almost godlike in their beauty.

And then there was sex. Did the sons seduce their best friend’s mom, or was it the other way around? Either way they all consented.

It sounds incestuous and vaguely distasteful, but it didn’t feel that way to me as an observer of the film, or to the people involved in these delicate arrangements of love and passion. The characters had depth and nuance and subtlety as they explored the relationships between the four principal characters.

I don’t want to give you too many spoilers, but I will say that the two women came to the conclusion that the arrangement had to stop. The young men both married women their own age and both had daughters, who learned to swim in the beautiful sandy bay where their grandmothers adored and worshiped them. But that isn’t the end of the story. I won’t give you the end.

The film was directed by Anne Fontaine, a French director. This is the first film she’s directed in English. The film had a non-judgmental Frenchness to it where love and sex are concerned, and this allowed the actors to give a lot of meaning to their relationships. Odd as it may seem to say, this was not a purient movie. It was an intricate exploration of friendship, parenting, love, loneliness, and desire.

On of the most telling lines in the film came in a scene between Lil and Roz as they talked in a crisis moment toward the end of the film. Roz thinks it’s all her fault. Lil says, “it couldn’t be your fault, because you’re the only one who isn’t behaving badly.” Roz answers, “Then it really is my fault.”

The look of the film, with scenes of sun-dappled ocean, sand, gorgeous vistas, beautiful homes and beautiful people was breathtaking.

Have a look at the trailer.

If you’ve seen this film, I’d love to hear what your reaction to it was.

4 thoughts on “Review: Adore”

  1. I have watched this movie six times and I love it. I love the relationship between Ian and Roz the most. You can see it in both their eyes, passion desire and love. I was so mad to find out Lil was still with Tom. Seeing Ian breakdown broke my heart. I will watch it again. Xavier Samuel did the part really good, I just watched him in a series on Prime Video after watching this movie. Kudos to him.

  2. I love this movie so much that I even purchased it so I would have it on my cable TV. I live in the US and I am wondering (as the movie was made in 2013 and it’s just now being seen on cable in February 2024) where has it been hiding? We see such sexual trash here who was afraid to release it?

    Anyway… I didn’t know quite what to expect when I started watching it but couldn’t stop. The actors are gorgeous, especially Xavier Samuel (who I knew from one of the Twilight movies). The heat between Roz and Ian is palpable, but yet tender, and every time he pulls back and looks in her eyes, there’s love in those eyes not just sex. The scenery is beyond compare. The story is beyond compelling. I watched it again and again. I caught different things every time I watched it. The Australian accent, is a bit troublesome at times. There are still two things that Ian says that I’m not sure what he says. If anyone can help, I’ll appreciate it. (see bottom)

    I’m not going to go over the story. We all know what it was, but I have 2 major points I wanted to mention. 1) Some people say that this movie is about incest. No it’s not. The boys are in love with each other’s mother not their own mother. 2). Everyone (even critic reviews) says that Ian married Hannah. I believe he did not. The only place both of her hands are shown is when they’re having dinner that last evening and she’s folding the napkins. She has no ring on either finger neither of course does Ian. I believe Ian perhaps lived with Hannah hoping he would fall in love with her, but never married her because he only loves Roz and just couldn’t marry anyone else. Check the scene out for yourselves. I think you agree with me.

    If it hadn’t been for Tom giving into society and trying “it out” with a girl his own age none of this would’ve happened. I love that Ian straightened everybody out… you could see the passion and sadness in his eyes. But frankly I wish he had taken a swing at Tom at Lil‘s house that night. Perhaps if he had let off a little bit of steam there, he wouldn’t have handled it quite so badly at Roz‘s house. If only Hannah hadn’t been so stupid not to realize he WAS dreaming about Roz because he loved her only this never would have happened. Why wasn’t Hannah using birth control except she wanted to trap Ian. After all, he’s extremely handsome and Mom owns a yacht building company. I just feel really bad about the children. They should never have been there. How can they ever go over to their father‘s house? They would never understand their grandmothers being with their fathers when they’re 40.

    My ending is that they have a meeting with the girls to make them understand that if they tell anyone why they’re divorcing Ian and Tom, it will be taking away the livelihood for their children. After all…they live in a small community, everybody knows everybody, word will get around fast, the community will turn away from them causing an end to the yacht business and Tom working as a Stage Director.

    I expect Ian and Roz to stay together and stay where are or move to someplace where no one knows them. I believe Tom will stay with Lil unless they decide to end their relationship amicably not shocking swift as it ended this time. Or they could move to wherever Ian and Roz decide to move and have someone else take care of the yacht company. That’s my pie in the sky ending for two unconventional couples. I wish the ending scene had Ian and Roz at least holding hands or laying across her as on the poster. It would’ve just given a little more closure. But perhaps that’s how the Director wanted to end… with each of us having our own ending.

    My questions can someone help? a). At the wedding Harold comes over to Ian outside on the lawn. He says to Ian “don’t worry you’ll be next married life is great”. Ian returns with “isn’t this all your fault?” Harold says “I thought you normally thank the fairy godmother.” Then Ian says……?… turns, walks away and goes to talk to Hannah. b) At the wedding Roz is sitting at a table, staring at Ian, who is dancing with Mary. Ian sees her looking at him, so goes to walk towards her. At the table he picks up her wine, glass and drinks from it. He asks “ where’s mum”? Roz says “ she’s gone home”. Ian says “?………..”. Your replies are appreciated.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Chris. If you turn on the close captions you’ll get all your questions answered about what people are saying. I find it very helpful with both Australian and northern English accents.

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