Billy and Antoinette Edwards let it all hang out for Allan King and crew in this jaw-dropping examination of a marriage in trouble, which “makes John Cassavetes’s Faces look like early Doris Day” (Time).
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I'm currently drinking single malt whiskey out of a "sippy cup", not two months into my own marriage, and I'm thinking of Billy and Antoinette--not characters, to be clear-but PEOPLE. And how they bang up against walls, and each other, and some of it soaks and some of it bounces, but there's real LOVE there. And the kid craps on the carpet, so what? So. What.
"What we don't know is whether we really hate one another or not," says Billy to Antoinette, but that might be the only thing these perpetually disoriented ill-marrieds DO know -- the answer is no, they don't hate each other, they just don't understand how they got into this mess and how the hell they can ever get out. In King's raw, pat, tedious yet compelling film, all credit for the mess itself goes to society.
"It's never gonna be anything marvelous between the two of us. And if we change for somebody else it's probably gonna be another whole set of problems that I can't even think of. It'd be just the same with them. So the best thing is stop dreaming about it being wonderful. And if you can at least stand the sight of each other put up with it and try to make a life for yourself."
This film is, no doubt, a contender for the title of the greatest documentary ever made. I might sound hyperbolic, but one needs to be, sometimes.
Of course, it's not THE greatest, because Wiseman's movies exist.