The Face Of Love

THE FACE OF LOVE directed by Arie.

THE FACE OF LOVE directed by Arie Posin, written by Posin and Matthew McDuffie, with Annette Bening, Ed Harris, Robin Williams and Amy Brenneman. A Mongrel Media release. 92 minutes. Opens Friday (April 18). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN

Two superb actors sell an outlandish story with complete commitment, making it into an absorbing, affecting tale of grief and love.

Five years after her husband drowns on a trip to Mexico, the middle-aged Nikki (Annette Bening) meets Tom (Ed Harris), an artist who looks freakishly like him. She doesn’t mention the resemblance to Tom, who’s mending his own broken heart, and hides him from her daughter and friends. But you know her romantic fantasy can’t last forever.

The script, co-written by director Arie Posin, is layered and smarter than its soap opera potential, suggesting much about how we see what we want to see in people. And the actors are astonishing. Bening makes you feel every step of Nikki’s impossible journey to reclaim the past, while Harris brings vulnerability and depth to Tom, who’s got secrets of his own.

A smart romance for grown-ups.

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