Berardinelli Weighs In

Reviews have really been all over the place for Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, making it kind of hard to know what to expect. Hopefully someone will buy it (not looking all that great at this point) so can find out for ourselves.

I quite like the critic James Berardinelli, and he’s generally quite a fan of Natalie’s work, but he wasn’t very taken with at least one side of Natalie’s performance.

Don Roos’ Love and Other Impossible Pursuits is a family drama that wants viewers to leave uplifted. Unfortunately, that’s not really what happens. The film’s success rests on the shoulders of Natalie Portman, but her performance is uneven. Portman is very good when it comes to scenes that require emotional distance and coldness, but when she is expected to show warmth and vulnerability, she is at times unconvincing. For the movie’s ending to have the impact Roos intends, she needs to be sympathetic, but that’s not in evidence.

Roos has done fine work in the past in the areas of both drama (Bounce) and comedy (The Opposite of Sex). Although there is some dark humor to be found here, this is basically a straightforward Lifetime-style movie with a high profile cast and top-notch production values. It churns the emotions (although it might have been more effective with a more balanced lead actress) but the ending comes across as rushed and unconvincing. It may work for those in search of a good cry but as a story of a damaged woman to touch the soul, it misses the mark.