5 to 7
Starring Anton Yelchin, Berenice Marlohe, Olivia Thirlby, Lambert Wilson
“Enormous things happen in every life,” our lead character tells us, as the film opens with what he calls the most beautiful writing in New York City; the dedication phrases on park benches. What begins as a nearly whimsical romance between a young writer and a beautiful married woman seems off putting to a traditional or conservative viewer. Our female played by former Bond girl Marlohe speaks of the French attitudes toward a 5 to 7 affair as if its common practice, Yelchin playing the writer is as disappointed and put off as I expect most viewers will be in the early moments. However, writer/director Victor Levin (“Mad Men”, “Mad About You”) slowly reveals on and off screen that that “5 to 7” understands true love in the most heartbreaking way. “I will promise you this, your favorite story, whatever it might be, was written for one reader”.
Frustrated writer Brian Bloom (Yelchin) leaves his apartment to smoke and meets one of the most extraordinary looking women on the sidewalk, also taking a smoke break. They converse, the attraction is nearly instant and plan to meet again for a cigarette, same time, same spot. Arielle (Marlohe) after a few flirtatious conversations reveals she is a happily married, 33 year old mother of two. Her French philosophy on love and relationships is almost too much for the young Jewish, conservative idealist. “Some people we marry and some we love”, she responds to his many apprehensions. Boundaries are set, and their relationship exists between five and seven during the week. Brian is welcomed by her husband, children and even introduces Arielle to his own parents over time who have a very surprising reaction.
"A rare romance that begins in such a light hearted place yet concludes in the most life changing manner"
“Maybe there are other ways to live,” Arielle suggests. Levin certainly explores one of those ways, and like most reckless alternatives to tradition we end up in the same place. It would be unfair to say that “5 to 7” doesn’t borrow elements and themes from “The Graduate” or love stories from the golden days, yet what Levin presents here feels honest and refreshing compared to modern love stories that plague our current box office.I couldn’t help but think of what “Pretty Woman” did for the young female in the early 90’s and the normalcy society associates a story about a hooker with one of the beloved American romances. 5 to 7 will likely seem as abrasive as Pretty Woman did in it’s era, however in its own way, provides the same idealism for young men.
Yelcin (“Star Trek”, “The Beaver”) delivers the best performance of his career in a role that looks and feels natural thanks to his tremendous talent with expression. Marlohe (“Skyfall”) reminds us again, that Bond girls are much more than just pretty faces. The entire cast is memorable, even in their small scenes which include an unforgettable dinner scene with Oscar nominees Close and Langella. Filled with beautiful quotes, keepsake imagery and creative analogies, “5 to 7” is a rare romance that begins in such a light hearted place yet concludes in the most life changing manner. The original and very traditional score by Danny Bensi & Saunder Jurraiaans (“Enemy”, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”) adds much depth and emotion to the beautiful story because of its marriage to the material.
A rare and revealing romance.