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Worth A Look: 11.63%
Average: 34.88%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 2.33%

4 reviews, 19 user ratings

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Innocence (2001)
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by Collin Souter

"Paul Cox's Beautiful Innocence Worth Seeking Out"
5 stars

Film critic Roger Ebert told the audience that “there are some films people think they don’t want to see, and a film about people in their 60’s having sex is one of them,” referring to Paul Cox’s "Innocence," a film so beautiful and pure it just might restore your faith in ci-nee-ma!

It tells a simple love story of two teenagers (who we only see in 8mm flashbacks) who have one of those great romances consisting of sex in the park, swing sets, church music and a tearful farewell at a train station. Fast-forward 40 years later. They have gone their separate ways, both married. The man, Andreas (Charles Tingwell), a widower, and the woman, Claire (Julia Blake), who has been stuck in a lifeless marriage for 20 years, meet up again and find the spirit if their great romance still exists. The woman must decide between her true love and her dull marriage to her husband, played by Terry Norris (winner of the Lloyd Bridges look-alike contest).

"Innocence" convincingly conveys the idea of a romantic spirit that guides us. One scene occurs when the two lovers, both in their late 60’s make love for the first time in 40 years. Now, as Ebert said, the notion of two people that age making love might not be to your cinematic taste, but Cox does it so tastefully and passionately, that it conveys its message more than any other scene: A true spirit of romance that exists between two people will guide their passions, and it has nothing to do with age, beauty or words. Andreas tells us, “Love is the only thing worth believing in…It’s naïve to believe otherwise.”

Charles Tingwell has a tricky role here. He has such an optimistic outlook on life, yet he proclaims himself a devout agnostic. He spurts out his philosophy of love and life to anyone who will listen, be it his loving daughter or, oddly enough, his priest. The trick to this performance lies in not being too overly-sentimental or gushy with the words. Something about Tingwell’s eyes and smile made me believe that this character really existed, as though you could see the experiences—good and bad—that shaped his personality just by looking at him. I never wanted him to stop talking.

The film also has some wonderful humor, most of which comes out of the conflicts between the woman and her husband, who after she tells of her affair with her old boyfriend, doesn’t believe her and tries to get a doctor over to the house to examine her. Other funny moments occur when the man talks to his priest, who wonders how the man can believe in love, but not God. Tingwell's reply: Love should be enough.

Cox and Ebert introduced the film at the Chicago International Film Festival. The biggest laugh in the film came when the director himself made a pointless cameo.

Cox started losing his faith in cinema until he saw an equally beautiful Iranian film called "Children Of Heaven," which tells the story of a boy who loses his sisters shoes and has to find a way to get her a new pair so their impoverished parents don’t find out. The film screened at a film festival, where the kids in the audience could not speak the film’s spoken language. However, they could still follow the story, thanks to its impeccable visual storytelling. The same could be said for "Innocence." Not a dry eye in the house.

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originally posted: 12/21/00 16:34:59
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User Comments

5/10/11 brian The bittersweet taste of trying to recapture the past. 5 stars
6/15/04 L.J. Could have been better, not sure why it won so many awards. 3 stars
4/03/04 Vincent A subtle yet honest movie that offers the viewer a glimpse into a very special relationship 5 stars
6/25/03 Josh Russo It's a great movie! 5 stars
10/12/01 Rutegar Dupree Good cast. Good performances.Interesting &daring story frequently gets schmaltzy. 4 stars
10/07/01 Suzz This is a film that is in love with being an art film. The dialogue is sitlted and comes at 3 stars
9/08/01 Heather Amazing movie, just blew me away! %^ 5 stars
7/18/01 ali asakl 5 stars
5/24/01 mm it might interest people to know that Blake and Norris are married in real life 4 stars
2/18/01 Anna Russo a film about a very selfish man 1 stars
2/17/01 Mark Burton This Film has touched me deeply, "A Must See" 5 stars
1/03/01 Bob P Wonderful 5 stars
12/22/00 LOUISE-ANDREE Loved it - very delicate, elegant - saw it at the MTL FF. 4 stars
12/22/00 Michael "Innocence" is a wonderful story for all ages reminiscent of "On Golden Pond" 5 Stars! 5 stars
12/18/00 Lindl Lawton thoughtful, honest, beautiful 4 stars
12/13/00 justine i wont to see it where can i see it in sydney,now 4 stars
12/12/00 jobay grate i really liked it 5 stars
9/26/00 Frankie Paiva Great acting and camera work, but overlong with bad script. 3 stars
8/17/00 neil bartlett absolutely magnificent 5 stars
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  21-Dec-2000 (M)

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