July 25, 2008

Never Forever


Reviewer: Dylan De Thomas
Rating (out of 5): **½

An uneven melodrama filled with lurches and starts, Never Forever is highlighted by a strong performance by Vera Farmiga, who is still waiting for her breakout role after shining in The Departed a couple of years back. Though impressive - and a must-see for fans of Farmiga's doe eyes and pliant, oft-downturned mouth - this is not the movie that will launch her into the greater public's consciousness.

Never Forever is the story of a sterile, affluent Korean-American (David McInnis, in a truly thankless role) and his wife (Farmiga) who will do anything to give her husband a child - and the other man (Jung-woo Ha) who she hires to impregnate her. Her desperate, foolhardy decision fuels the rest of the plot as does genuine pathos in Farmiga's performance. Unfortunately, the plot is the ultimate downfall of the film, which fitfully moves from beautifully shot scenes (by I Am Trying to Break Your Heart cinematographer Matthew Clark) that ring painfully true, to scenes so ludicrous it's embarrassing to watch.

Writer-director Gina Kim, whose first film was the straight-outta-film school Invisible Light, deserves kudos for trying to subvert the genre that she's working in - the interracial melodrama - but she is unable to work the episodes she cobbles together into anything that resembles a coherent whole. Even the ambiguous ending (no spoilers here), a languorous, gorgeously-shot scene, doesn't fit into the rest of the overly-rushed third act.

Never Forever should appeal enough to fans of Farmiga's work and completists of the genre, but the rest of us would be better suited in waiting for Kim's next film and for Farmiga's seemingly-inevitable Oscar nominated role, again, in another film.

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Posted by cphillips at July 25, 2008 2:01 PM
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