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We Don't Live Here Anymore
#1
We Don’t Live Here Anymore (2004) -R-

Directed by: John Curran
Written by: Larry Gross
Adapted from the Short Stories “We Don't Live Here Anymore” and “Adultery” by: Andre Dubus
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Laura Dern, Naomi Watts, Peter Krause


Banal, Hateful Couples Cheat on Each Other, With No Redemption


We Don’t Live Here Anymore attempts to tell a haunting story of two married couples, best of friends, whom sleep with each others’ spouses out of unhappiness in their own marriage. Top of the line character actors Naomi Watts, Mark Ruffalo, and Laura Dern, along with Peter Krause from Six Feet Under, star in this independent film so full of banality and hateful characters, that it lacks any redeeming qualities and ends up telling a bland poorly scripted story.

We Don’t Live Here Anymore marks Laura Dern’s return to the big screen after having her baby, and she has never looked worse. It looks as though she has makeup on in every scene; even when she goes to bed at night.

Hank (Krause), Terry’s (Dern) best friend’s husband and creative writing professor, constantly flirts with his young female students. He says lines like, “Anyone who looks like you doesn’t have to do anything,” to a young student. It’s very hard to believe he would fall for Terry, who looks so old.

It’s also very difficult to believe Edith (Watts) would fall for Jack, especially when he says things like, “Sometimes I think I love you more than I think I do, which is a lot.” It’s hard for me to believe she didn’t cringe like I did at that line.

Aside from the terrible, corny dialogue mentioned above, the jokes aren’t funny either. Jack rags on Hank at one point for spending four hours writing one page—Hank is a wannabe writer by the way—and he tries to make a joke by saying, “It’s only been 3 hours and 45 minutes. You think I would spend four hours writing one page.” The script is just horrible and lacking any substance.

All four characters act hateful to each other, either through Hank’s total lack of feeling for his wife, Jack’s total lack of respect for his, or both Jack and Hank’s total lack of respect for each other. The problem here, that say isn’t in a film like The Ice Storm or Your Friends and Neighbors, is that these characters are not interesting. There’s no substance to their characters; we don’t care about them; they are just two unhappily married couples cheating.

Both husbands are obvious male-chauvinists—Hank by the words he speaks and Jack (Ruffalo) by his actions. Jack yells at his wife for not taking care of the kids, for letting their son sleep in his own piss. Where was he? Are taking care of the kids only Terry’s duty? She of course confronts him on this matter, and another shouting match commences—they’ve had plenty by this point.

By the end, you realize the kids are the ones who suffered the most through all of these marital quandaries. These characters, spouses, lovers, are so hateful to each other, you wonder why they were ever together in the first place.

It doesn’t appear at any time that they love each other, much less even like each other. They don’t seem to care about anyone but themselves. They’re all so self-indulgent, so shallow—Hank with his writing, Terry with her drinking, and Edith with her sleeping with Frank, even in her house while he’s there—that it’s no wonder both marriages finally come crashing down. But by that point, we don't care anymore because that was the only outcome that could have happened.


Recommended Alternatives: The Ice Storm, Your Friends and Neighbors, Happiness, Eyes Wide Shut, 21 Grams, Mulholland Drive, Wild at Heart, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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