Certified Copy

Certified Copy ★★★

Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy, a film that is well liked by critics both professional and amateur is a film I thought was good, but it didn't quite resonate with me. In someways it reminded me of Richard Linklater's Before Trilogy, mainly due to the abundance of walking and talking. The difference being I just wasn't as into these characters.

In Tuscany to promote his latest book, British writer James Miller (William Shimell) meets a French woman named Elle (Juliette Binoche). She invites him on a tour of the countryside where he is mistaken for her husband. Instead of correcting the mistake she tells James about it and they keep up the pretense while continuing their afternoon out. They discuss everything from life, love, and art all while pretending to be a long married couple. Is this just two people acting their way through an awkward day or is there more to their seemingly new relationship than meets the eye?

While I wasn't quite as enamored with Certified Copy as some people, I'll give Kiarostami credit. He tells his story in a very interesting manner that almost felt like a social experiment. Actors acting like they're acting...or are they. The two leads are seemingly strangers who met on a whim, but there's hints that maybe they aren't acting and actually new each other before. That maybe they actually are the people they're pretending to be. It's a question that arises in the film but one that doesn't necessarily need an answer. That's what I liked about the it.

My issues revolved around the fact I was bored for a good chunk of the film. Like I mentioned it reminded me of the Before Trilogy but with less interesting conversations. Much of the time James and Elle spend together is like a very bad first date. Not something I really want to watch and certainly not something I find entertaining. Maybe had these parts been funny I would have enjoyed them but instead they were mostly just awkward. I struggled with this because overall Binoche and Shimell had really good chemistry together. I think maybe I needed more time for the characters to grow on me so maybe I'll enjoy the overall film more on an eventual re-watch.

Ron's recommendation: See it. The lead performances are excellent, and if you aren't bored in parts like I was you'll likely love it.

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