feedingbrett’s review published on Letterboxd:
Review In A Nutshell:
Certified Copy was a film that I found too difficult to review during my initial viewing, as its ideas were so complex and ambiguous that I actually needed a couple of months in contemplation, just to get a sort of grasp on what I just experienced. Though in saying all of that, I was entertained with what I saw, fuelled by the chemistry and performances by its two leading cast members and leaving with an open ending that would urge one to come back and go through their journey all over again.
The film overall is about perception. Is what we are seeing authentic or is it just a copy of something else, and does it even matter if the end result is still the same? Is their relationship seen as important and powerful, just because we are seeing it in a respected medium and handled by a respected director? The film asks daring and thought provoking questions, but it never gives away the answers. Abbas Kiarostami inserts ideologies and symbolism throughout the film, but they only act as a guide for the audience, and overall it still relies on the perception on the viewer. Many people can see the characters playing pretend, applying transference of their own personal history into the relationship, but possessing and conveying genuine emotions. Some may see the film as a complete Meta and Kiarostami simply pushing his ideas of the relationship between cinema or art and the perception of its audience; is this film about love any different from the others that follow the same journey as these two characters had. I was more in tuned with the latter, finding more the metaphorical meaning behind this simple yet also complex relationship; stirring our minds, especially in regards to the Coca Cola idea that was brought up early in the film.
The performances in this film were outstanding, developing that strong chemistry between its two leads, making the slow transition feel natural, especially in its emotions. The film only runs for an hour and 46 minutes, but it never felt draggy even with its lack of incidence; the film is comprised mainly of chatter back and forth between the two characters, some parts were natural and emotional while others were more concerned on the larger aspects of life and love, showing conflicts in perspectives between the two individuals. Sometimes when dialogue drags itself on for too long, I could get restless and distracted, but Kiarostami and co-writer Caroline Eliacheff have provided conversations that were so entertaining and intriguing to listen to; especially during their meal in the latter half of the film, where the tension is elevated but accompanying it with truth rather than melodrama.
I doubt any of what I said earlier made any sense, as you can see I am still trying to grasp and contain the film within my hands. Certified Copy is no doubt Abbas Kiarostami's most ambitious but also his most affecting work.