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XX/XY (2003)
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Review Date: August 12, 2003
Director: Austin Chick
Writer: Austin Chick
Producers: Isen Robbins, Aimee Schoof
Actors:
Mark Ruffalo
Maya Stange
Kathleen Robertson
Plot:
A good-looking, free-spirited college dude hooks up with a cutie girl and her friend for a threesome one night. He falls for the cutie and dates her for a while, but doesn't think too much about being faithful. Eventually, their relationship crumbles and they both move on with their lives. Ten years later, they run into each other again, and despite being in relationships of their own, spark yet another tryst. The complications of love ensues...
Critique:
I've made no secret of the fact that WHEN HARRY MET SALLY is one of my favorite movies of all-time (I've probably watched it over 40 times by this point) and one of the reasons for that is because of its unique perspective on a couple over a period of many years. In that sense, XX/XY felt kind of like the "serious" version of that film, with half the picture concentrating on this one duo's meeting, coupling and relationship woes, and the other half, checking them out 10 years down the road. I really loved this approach because it felt a lot more real. Sure, it's always nice to watch a couple meet at the beginning of a film and then see them get married by the end, but how realistic is that really? In this case, we truly get a sense of these extremely well-developed characters through various scenes, interpretations and conversations, in which they deal with real-life issues, talk about their relationships and more importantly, showcase their dysfunctions. Major kudos go out to all of the major players in this film, all of whom deserve extreme props for conveying a true sense of person. I've been a huge fan of Mark Ruffalo since YOU CAN COUNT OF ME and I thought he did yet another great job here, with charisma, emotional depth and a genuine sense of not wanting to grow up (Arrow??) Maya Stange was also superb as his counterpart, with plenty of cuteness to spare but plenty of real-life anguish, love and sensitivity curled up in there as well.

It's been a while since I'd thought of my ex-girlfriend, but for anyone who might still feel some love in their heart for a past friend/lover, anyone who wonders if they hadn't missed the boat with that someone special or anyone who wonders "what could have been?" had you actually taken a chance and followed your heart that long time ago...XX/XY is sure to spark both your interest, and ultimately, discussion. The film also moves at a swift pace, incorporates a quirky style, some strange musical choices which nonetheless work and a great sense of connection and chemistry between all the main players. I also love how the screenplay fleshed all of the characters out to their fullest, and didn't even think about sticking some stereotypical "boyfriends/girlfriends" in there, even though the film concentrates more on the two leads. Petra Wright, for example, the actress who plays Ruffalo's long-time girlfriend in the second half of the film, turns out to be a revelation, a character whom I was sure was simply there as an ornament, but one that actually turned into one of the more mature and thought-provoking people in the group. Did I like the film's ending? No, not at all. I was hoping that the film would turn out the way that I wanted the characters to be, but the truth is that (and I know this is a fuckin' cliché, but I'm gonna say it anyway), just like in real life, nothing is simple, nothing is handed to you without any work and not a whole lot turns out like in those fluffy fairy-tale movies. The film's conclusion is sure to stir up discussion though, as will much of the rest of the movie which includes themes of intimacy, adultery, sexual experimentation, commitment and this or that person's fear of honesty and trust.

Everyone who has had their hearts ripped out by someone else knows that relationships aren't easy and that you almost never know what the other person is thinking until...well, they say it. But a lot of times, people are scared to say what they really feel, they avoid issues because they think everything will "turn out alright" and they stick to a certain routine because they don't have the cajones to face life's harder choices and move forward. This film provides us with a great micro-view of one specific man and woman who simply cannot seem to "get it together", despite a real love residing between them. Will the movie teach you anything? I guess that would all depend on where you are in your own life's affairs, but for me, it definitely entertained, enlightened and engaged. I would actually consider this film to be one of the more potent "love stories" of the year and one that many couples should see together. Forget the shitty title and consider the acting, which is top-notch across the board, the characters, all of whom have something to say and a brain inside their pretty faces and the screenplay, which touches upon many typical relationship obstacles and offers a great perspective of what both men and women are thinking, either at one point in their lives, and in the film's second half, at another point in their lives. Do people ever really change? Is there really "no room for honesty in any healthy relationship?" (the film's tagline) You decide.
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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