Movie Review - Certified Copy
I like how director Abbas Kiarostami holds on his camera-shots. There isn't a thousand edits, a cut every two seconds or so. He has long oners and with the exception of one sequence, the camera hardly moves. There's hardly any pans, tilts or swivels. The camera is mostly still. This is highly effective because it allows the audience to focus on the performance of the actors, Juliette Binoche and William Shimell.
Juliette Binoche plays an unnamed French woman who arrives at a book reading in Tuscany. The book is titled "Copia Conforme." British writer James Miller is the author. She arrives late but finds that her teenage son is already texting or perhaps playing a game on a mobile device. Before the reading ends, the mother and child leave. Later, the mom meets up with the author and the two spend the rest of the day together like Before Sunset (2004).
The film from then to the end is one long conversation between these two people with occasional breaks for moments of reflection. Those moments of reflection feature solitary shots of Binoche and Shimell that are heartbreaking. Those moments are powerful punctuations because the conversations leading to them are so well written and acted that you're enrapt.
During a drive out to the Italian countryside, Binoche and Shimell's characters talk about the book and their conversation evolves into the stutter of the woman's brother-in-law. Kiarostami allows these musings to flow under the gazing of beautiful, cypress trees. It's simple but helps us to see the value of things, especially of basic things.
Seeing and determining the value of these things seems to be a bit of a struggle for the two characters. Sometimes, it's the value of a painting. Other times, it's the value of a wedding photo. In the end, it's the value of time spent in a hotel room.
Watching the two struggle over these values is enough. Kiarostami establishes an air of mystery about what the relationship between Binoche and Shimell will be, which does give you a sense of the alienation and distance they share. I'm not sure how necessary it was, but it was fascinating.
Four Stars out of Five.
Not Rated But Parental Guidance Recommended.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 46 mins.