“Adore” stars Naomi Watts and Robin Wright as Lil and Roz, two wealthy middle-aged socialites who never quite came to terms with growing up. Their two sons, Ian and Tom, have recently become adults and developed a friendship every bit as strong as the one their mothers share. When the foursome decides to take a vacation on their Australian island paradise, what was planned as a lazy summer quickly turns into a controversy that will change the rest of their lives.
Although it was only recently released, “Adore” is already working up a fair share of critical acclaim and controversy within the international film community. The central conflict of the film begins when Roz and Ian begin a torrid love affair. Tom discovers Roz leaving Ian’s room one night and immediately goes to speak with Lil about the incident. The two are extremely troubled by this relationship in its early stages, but as they scheme to break the star-crossed couple up, they wind up falling for each other as well. Torn between social conventions and their newfound passions, both couples are forced to make a tough decision. That summer they begin two secret affairs that will last for years to come, causing plenty of division and drama.
What makes “Adore” stand out from other recent dramas is its nuanced storytelling. While many films seek to promote a moral agenda, “Adore” merely tells a story about deeply flawed human beings and the experiences they share. Friendship is a central theme throughout the film, particularly in the ways the relationship between Lil and Roz becomes strained. At first, Lil is horrified by her friend’s affair with her son. When Lil herself falls prey to temptation and begins dating Roz’s son, she starts to see her friend in a different light and more intimately understand the choices she has made. Both women go through doubt as to whether their actions are truly justified by their love and desire for passion, particularly Roz, who is still married.
Roz’s marriage and her affair with Ian become central conflicts Dramacool as the film progresses. While Lil is a widow, free to pursue any relationship she pleases without guilt, Roz is still committed to her husband. Although she has feelings for Ian that she has never had for her husband, she is reluctant to end the marriage to pursue her own happiness. Instead, she remains torn between worlds, attempting to keep up the appearance of a happy marriage while burning with the hidden desire to escape. Roz’s husband compounds the drama of the film, as he appears to have no idea about his wife’s indiscretions and welcomes Ian as Lil’s son and a member of their clan.
Naomi Watts’ portrayal of Lil is one of her most vivid performances in recent years. Lil comes off as flaky in the beginning of the film, but viewers quickly realize that she is actually a deep and complex character. Lil’s affair with Tom helps her to find closure in the death of her husband and signifies her need to move on and enjoy the rest of her life. Meanwhile, she realizes that she hasn’t fully let go of her own son out of desperation to keep things the way they were in the past. Robin Wright is equally remarkable as Roz, perhaps the film’s most dynamic character. Roz seems cold and aloof at first, but as the film moves along, viewers discover that she has a world of emotion and conflict just beneath the surface of her icy demeanor. Roz may seem self-assured and as if she has the perfect life, but in reality, she feels alone and confused. Her struggle to find meaning in her life and come to terms with the decisions she has made is magnified in the problems caused by her affair with Ian.