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July 28, 2002

Lantana--Love Is The Greatest Mystery

Anthony LaPaglia. Geoffrey Rush. Barbara Hershey. A cast of terrifice Australian actors.

LaPaglia is a detective enjoying a nooner with a woman who is not his wife. We learn they know each other from a dance class that LaPaglia's wife has dragged him to. Hershey plays a famous psychiatrist married to Rush. Among her patients is LaPaglia's wife. These are all characters in their 40s who are in relationships that aren't fulfilling them as much as they want them to. There is a gay man, having an affair with a married man. There is a wife who thinks her husband my be bisexual. A woman who is pretty sure her husband is steppng out. An attractive wife who needs to feel wanted, even if its by the 20-something guy she meets in a club. There is also a young couple, with three kids, who are so newly in love, that they can't seem to understand the problems these older couples are having.

There is also a missing woman that ends up affecting all the other characters. The mystery of her whereabouts is just the icing on the cake in this film. The story could have been about anything and the relationships in this movie still would have been compelling.

This is an adult film. Humans aren't perfect. They react to relationship problems in different ways and some of these ways are destructive to their partners and what they've built as a couple. Every actor is fantastic and although many motivations are left unsaid, we can 'feel' why they do what they do. It's nice to see 40-somethings who need to be needed in one way or another. I really liked the vibe and the pace of this film.

8.6 Critical Consensus


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