Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Breaking Up (1997) [R] **

Monica (Salma Hayek) and Steve (Russell Crowe) can't live without each other, and yet, when they are together for more than a few days they drive each other crazy. Monica is afraid of losing Steve. She clings to him; she practically smothers him while they are sleeping. Steve feels he is drowning in Monica. He is terrified that he is losing his identity, and if they break up he won't know who he is. He can't commit; he can't even bring himself to stay the night with her. They hate themselves and each other for generating the manic hypersensitivity that drives them apart. But their sexual relationship is so incredibly magnetic and powerful that it pulls them back together, and up out of the depression that follows the mania. This cycle goes on and on, building in intensity until they have to get away from one another or risk destroying one another.

Hayek and Crowe are terrific together, and since this is basically a two-person stage play, they are on camera alone or together the entire time. We may not like what they are going through, and we may not be able to understand it, but we have to acknowledge that what Monica and Steve are feeling is real and does happen in human relationships.

Labels: comedy, drama, romance

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