inessentials’s review published on Letterboxd:
Second viewing confirms this is among the handful of films I'd consider my all-time favorites. Everything I want in a film is here. (Well, I could use a chase scene with a car explosion, I guess.)
What's the movie about? It's about an hour and forty-five minutes.
An hour and forty-five minutes of dizzying, glorious, beautiful starts and stops, ideas and emotions, reality and fiction, truth and lies, beauty and deceit. AK demands our attention, but doesn't mind if we don't watch too closely. (We are She, stumbling in late to a lecture, half-listening, life calling us away, yet not forgetting what was said.)
Officially, my big interpretive stance is that the film defies any single, uniting reading that makes one of the movements (just meeting; lovers who first met five years ago; married couple on their 15th wedding anniversary) as the original and the others as mere copies. AK tells us, through Miller, from the very first scene that the copy is as valuable as the original, and then he structures the film so that no movement can be taken as the original and then used to explain the copies. Yet this is never held out as the secret key to explaining it all. Sometimes the original really is more valuable (the joke about why he is late works the first time but not the second; the hand on the shoulder is valuable even though a copy, yet it completely fails to prevent the restaurant scene that follows).
But that's to play the big game of interpretation, which we are invited and encouraged to do and is oh so fun, yet we shouldn't let that overwhelm the many beautiful small moments and harmonious, resonant themes that echo through the film as well. Shall we talk about how the viewer is different at each viewing while the film stays the same? (Miller's response to She when she says the town hasn't changed is that she has.) Shall we talk about the differences between originality and origination? Shall we talk about love? About marriage? About fighting to be who we are (or is it who we want to be?) when faced with another who sees through our bullshit?
No, let's drive to a composite Tuscan town, like in the movies.