Oh God, this movie! First thing out of a load of library movies I get, and it's just fantastic! I saw Kiarostami's '98 Palme d'Or winner, Taste of Cherry and loved it. But this was something really special. A subtly mind bending story that evolves out of a simple trip between two strangers. Binoche is beautiful as usual and Shimell was perfect. Great characters and a Carriere cameo make it essential viewing!
Thanks to its magnetic duo of actors (specially La Binoche!), "Certified Copy" becomes way more accessible and relatable and it didn't came across as just a snob and elitist film about art and the (ir)relevance of originality. That discussion is there, through the movie, but dissolved in a captivating first date which turns into a failed marriage. Definitely food for thought.
An image of a person -- reflected in glass, words, painting, film or the naked eye -- remains an inscrutable barrier to truth, even when observed in the most candid circumstances. These certified copies of ourselves fill this world we share with others, clouding our ability to see and understand. Yet Kiarostami finds intimacy even within the distances that separate. Thought provoking.
This movie is Woody Allen's latter career, if it knew how tired its formula actually is. A romantic wit fest that utterly deceives and cases its spell on you. This has everything to do with cinema... except when it doesn't. Binoche and Shimell give their all time best and yet, it is ultimately trivial in the end. I wonder if the players felt really silly acting in it?
The conversation between the two is interesting, and all the while we realize that there is something else. This, however, is not as transcendental as the original vs copy. It is something more basic like love, need, and companionship. Binoche is spectacular here. She is amazing through the last scenes. Shimell falters a bit in some key scenes, but Binoche supports him. Kiarostami is fun. Now off to see more of him.
I thought a lot about Roberto Rossellini's Journey to Italy while seeing this film, the couple Ingrid Bergman-George Sanders always wandering behind Juliette Binoche and William Shimell, at least to me. Highly recommended.