Fri February 1, 2002
If you see "Innocence," you may never have to see another love story...
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
Writer, director Paul Cox's "Innocence" may be about senior-citizen love, but it really is about how we must be ready when love arrives or when it returns, no matter at what age. As a cautionary tale and a lyric expression of love's power, few current movies can match this film's quiet honesty.
At the same time, "Innocence" has enough aphorisms and platitudes about love and life to make it qualify for the "I am Sam/Majestic" sugar trophy. Heroine Claire's leaden comment, "Too much love is as bad as no love at all," is one of the winners.
But then when she says to her elderly friend before their lovemaking, "If we're going to do this -- let's do it like grownups. First, close the curtains. Then, close your eyes," I have to admit it made me consider that bedroom antics at any age are pretty goofy in the cold light of maturity. In this way, Cox has caught the humanity that crosses all age lines and doesn’t need the excessive silent intercutting of numerous romantic reveries from the protagonists' youth.
If you see "Innocence," you may never have to see another love story. The romance between these two almost 70-year-olds is fraught with uncertainty, deception, longing, passion, and regret. It is honest about the choices we make and their consequences. It is hopeful about our ability to recoup our losses and begin again, even at life’s end.
So, like our own lives and loves, the film is alternately sublime and ridiculous. View it if only to witness on film the first and last time you will see septuagenarians making love. Hey, they look just as silly as the rest of us.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE’s "It's Movie Time" and vice-chairs the board of The Film Council of Greater Columbus.