The Face of Love

The first ten minutes of The Face of Love function as what might be called a statement of purposelessness, announcing exactly how and why the movie will be bad. A middle-aged woman (Annette Bening) sits in her nicely furnished home making distraught faces while flashbacks reveal a trip she took with her husband (Ed Harris) on their 30th wedding anniversary. He drowned during this trip, which must be the reason she looks so unhappy. In the present-tense scene Bening is illumined by light reflecting off her swimming pool, a detail that instantly registers as overdetermined; the water is meant to evoke memories of her husband’s death, which are as integral to her existence as the pool is to her estate. Continue reading >>