BETWEEN US – SLIFF Review
Dan Mirvish’s new film based on the play by Joe Hortua examines the friendship of two couples long after they bonded in college. At one point the film resembles the classic WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? with one seemingly happy couple uncomfortably watching another couple engage in a vicious verbal battle. Soon it’s similar to the recent CARNAGE with a tag team screaming match. While those earlier films took place over one evening or afternoon, BETWEEN US toggles back and forth between the present day and a nightmarish evening a few years in the past. As the film opens, Grace (Julia Stiles) and Carlos (Taye Diggs) are stunned to see old friends Sheryl (Melissa George) and Joel (David Harbour) at the door of their NYC apartment. Cut to their last time together. Grace and Carlos flew out to visit Sheryl and Joel at their remote Midwestern estate. Both men were photography majors in college. Carlos has stayed in the city to sell his work through galleries while Joel has done well (really well) in the world of advertising. After a leisurely, wine soaked dinner the two couples head back to the mansion-like home to sleep-over and see Sheryl and Joel’s adorable baby boy. Suddenly a phone call becomes the spark that ignites an explosive evening that horrifies the (seemingly trapped) visiting couple. Back in the present, the once bickering couple are in the Big Apple on a second honeymoon getaway. A freak accident has brought them back from the brink of divorce. But all is not well with Grace and Carlos now. In the last couple years they’re gotten married and have produced their own baby boy. But financial problems have taken a toll on them. During that long evening the couples drink lots of milk shakes (you’ll see), vent their frustrations, and expose their secrets. Envy, jealousy, infidelity are all part of the mix that night. Some of these exchanges are almost too painful to watch (at different points you may want to scream, “Get outta’ there!” to one of the couples), but the film boasts some great acting performances as it explores the effect of time and distance on BFFs when they leave school and try to survive in a cut-throat world.
BETWEEN US screens as part of the 21st Annual St. Louis International Film Festival on Sunday, Nov 18 at 4 PM at the Tivoli theatre