Mar 22, 2011

REVIEW: Certified Copy (dir. Kiarostami)

Things I liked about Certified Copy:—
— Juliette Binoche's array of suppressed smiles and smothered laughs, so the laugh has nowhere to go except into her eyes and the muscles around her mouth

— Her extremely low-centre of gravity when walking

— The town reflected in the car windshield

— William Shimmell's hair, and the way he says "... or maybe not" after a failed joke

— The foot massage on the steps (but couldn't he have offered?)

— The kid's teasing of his mother

— The Italian tourist who tells Shimmell that all Binoche wants is his hand on her shoulder. So insightful it made me laugh out loud. (Boy, does he need that guy in his life on a more regular basis)
Things I did not like:—
— William Shimmell's cold, self-obsessed intellectual, almost wholly silent unless prompted to repeat one of his willowy pensées. How on earth did he ever charm such a vibrant woman?

— The central theme (copies are as good as originals, or more interesting, or supplement/supplant them in some Derridean fashion). No more persuasive this time round than the last dozen times I've heard it, even less so on the lips of an Englishman. Shimmell at least does us the courtesy of not seeming to believe his own theory. So make that, willowy, unconvincing pensées.

— The endless restating of the central theme. Does Kiarostami think this is what his film is about? Would that it were so easy.

— The way they slip from flirtation to bickering without going via anything suggesting reciprocal love. A major deficit when compared to Viaggio in Italia and Before Sunrise.

— The line "there are no immutable truths to fall back on." Hard to tell if true. If true, gauche. Likewise, "its hard to be simple." Try harder.


  1. A new style of film criticism? I could get on board with bullet point reviews.

  2. A little lazy, I know, but I find it easier to do it like this with films that split me right down the middle like this one. Its hard to write a genuinely ambivalent review. You can't help but fake the judgment a little — 'rounding up' one way or t'other. This way I don't feel tempted.