Aug. 20, 2017
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'L’attesa' Review

May 31, 2017, 12:00 am

When a young French woman named Jeanne (Lou de Laâge) travels to visit her boyfriend in Sicily, she instead finds his mother, Anna (Juliette Binoche of The English Patient), who is reeling from the recent loss of a family member. Anna frowns constantly, refuses to answer simple questions and seems to have no idea as to her son’s whereabouts. What follows is an unbearable series of silent moments, uncomfortable exchanges and some of the most self-indulgent and drawn-out establishing shots in the history of film.

L’attesa would have you believe Anna and Jeanne (or even the mysteriously absent Giuseppe) harbor dark secrets, but whatever they may be, we soon cease to care. Like, immediately. Jeanne wanders the grounds of the admittedly gorgeous Sicilian villa, leaving repeated and increasingly frustrated phone messages for her lover, all of which are intercepted by Anna for, uh, some reason. And rather than slowly coming to terms with the young woman’s feelings, we begin to think of her as a petulant child angry that her boyfriend ditched her with his mom.

Anna is no better, and every moment she’s onscreen, we fear she’s about to lose her shit. Jeanne is understandably confused by all of this, but it’s absurd to believe anyone would just hang around for days on end with someone’s weird mother when they could just as easily find a hotel or leave or something. Binoche does manage to cobble together an emotionally believable performance as the first woman in Sicily to get divorced (or so they say), and there are even moments of genuinely fine acting peppered throughout, but if Jeanne is supposed to be our hero, or even just our cipher, she fails.

Eventually, as we watch the seasoned thespian flounder under boring dialogue and her young counterpoint descend further into clingy and unstable, we just kind of check out and pray for L’attesa to come to an end—which it does, with practically no satisfying conclusion or discernable point of any kind. (ADV)

+ Binoche is so talented
- Even snails move faster

Jean Cocteau,
100 min


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