5 to 7

by Michael Cox

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday April 3, 2015

Bérénice Marlohe and Anton Yelchin star in '5 to 7'
Bérénice Marlohe and Anton Yelchin star in '5 to 7'  

"In New York City, you're only 20 feet away from someone you know or someone you need to know," says Brian Bloom in writer/director Victor Levin's new romance "5 to 7."

Anton Yelchin, an actor who is unending charismatic in his modest self-deprecation, plays Brian, an idealistic New Yorker writer -- or, rather, a young man who writes and submits his work to publishers in spite of the fact that they continually reject him. Still, he celebrates dismissal, posting every rejection letter on his living room wall and scanning each cookie-cutter form for signs of hope.

Brian also says that the best writing in New York is not in books, magazines or plays. It's on the benches in Central Park. Close ups of dedication placards flash on the screen throughout the film. These charming epitaphs set the tone for the film, which is stylish and heartening.

Brian meets a beautiful, slightly older, French woman, Arielle Pierpont (Brnice Marlohe), on the street outside the St. Regis who offers to meet him any weeknight from 5 to 7 o'clock. What he doesn't understand is the subtext behind these very specific hours suggests that Arielle is married. She tells him that her husband is having an affair and that affairs are common where she comes from, but Brian resists, believing that cheating is wrong.

His moral fortitude doesn't last for long and before Brian knows it he's in the throws of a full-blown tte--tte. This new leniency is unshaken until a handsome man in a expensive car pulls over and invites him to get in. The man is Valry Pierpont (Lambert Wilson), Arielle's husband.

Shot on location in sensual close-ups and in long, picturesque, mise-en-scene takes, this movie is a love letter to New York City.

If you can imagine what happens then, you're probably wrong. Valry invites Brian to dinner with his girlfriend and his wife and some of the most prestigious names in the city. There is absolutely no malice; even Valry's children are warm and inviting, and the whole event carries the promise of advancing Brian's career.

He responds in kind by inviting his parents to meet Arielle. Arliene (Glenn Close) and Sam (Frank Langella) Bloom are the prototypical New York neurotics, and a delightful comic relief.

As his life gets better and better, Brian does the absolutely worst thing for his bettering fortune: He falls in love. He spends everything he has to buy Arielle a ring, and asks her to leave her husband and marry him.

Shot on location in sensual close-ups and in long, picturesque, mise-en-scene takes, this movie is a love letter to New York City. The set up is fascinating, the humor is rich and the camera work is as stylish as the French new wave; there are so many places this movie could go. But where it takes us is unbelievably facile and sentimental.

Even the music, which in the beginning of the movie is playful and ironic (Martin Sexton's "Diner") becomes over the top, violins and schmaltz.

"The world will surprise you with its grace if you let it," says Arielle. It's a beautiful platitude that can strike you emotionally, but when a movie goes no deeper than a platitude it is disappointing.


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