By: Reel 127 (A Toast) –
The Wait is the story of Anna, a mother whose son, Giuseppe, recently died. Giuseppe’s girlfriend, Jeanne, was invited to their home before he died. Jeanne continually asks where Giuseppe is but because Anna refuses to say he is dead, and all the family and friends play along and won’t say what happened to him. If you can manage to sit through all the company logos at the beginning of the film, what awaits is a pretty great movie.
This is the directorial debut of Piero Messina, whose most notable previous credit is as Assistant Director on the Academy Award-winning The Great Beauty. After seeing this is I am very much looking forward to his next feature-length work. Many choices throughout the movie were excellent, adding to the overall viewing experience. The film is slowly paced, much like Amour, in order to make the viewer feel uncomfortable about the emotional weight of the situation. He even begins to make you wonder if Giuseppe is actually alive while still leaving just enough clues to make you realize he is dead and Anna is becoming delusional. I think the symbolic use of Jesus was incredibly clever. A son who died, like Giuseppe, they even have Anna hallucinate and see Giuseppe on Easter, the day Jesus rose from the dead. Unlike a movie such as Flight, the religious symbolism is enough to form connections to the story rather than having it be the entire reason for the story.
We get it! Divine intervention! Yada yada!
Anna is played by Juliette Binoche, who you might remember from that Kristen Stewart movie people just can’t seem to shut up about, The Clouds of Sils Maria, as well as her Oscar-winning role in The English Patient. Binoche continues to prove herself as a great actress with The Wait. You can understand her reasoning for the terrible lies she tells Jeanne because of the sorrow she is able to portray. We see Anna as closed off and heartbroken at the start of the film following the funeral for Giuseppe. But then as she begins to spend more time with Jeanne, one of the last connections to her late son, she begins to recover from the loss. Though it seems to be from the delusion that Giuseppe is still alive that she begins to recover. We see a progression and eventual growth from the character rather than someone playing a single emotion while making actions because the script told them to. Binoche makes you understand Anna rather than resent her.
She has mastered the stare that makes you wonder,
“What’s going on in that brain?”
The cinematography for The Wait is the best I have seen in 2016 (sorry Roger Deakins). Every shot is composed with precision. It’s clear the intent was to make them all as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Considering how many Hollywood films don’t seem to know tripods are still a thing, this is such a fresh change of pace. Shots that establish the room or location are used just right so the viewer can be drawn in and feel like they are in the scene. Close-ups are used correctly to emphasize a character’s thoughts so that even though nothing is said the audience still understands what is going through their mind. Since this is a quiet movie, this really helps, while still not spoon-feeding what the audience should infer and feel.
This is an excellent movie, but I must make it clear that it may not be for everyone. If you like foreign dramas then this film is right up your alley. I wouldn’t say this film is for those who like fast-paced films. Entertainment-wise, this may not satisfy your desires. But as an art piece, The Wait is a beautiful film worth experiencing.
The Wait (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time you get frustrated that no one will say Giuseppe is dead
Take a Drink: every time Anna takes a long time to answer a simple question
Take a Drink: every time Jesus appears or is referenced in some way