5 to 7 DVD Review

     Actors: Anton Yelchin, Bérénice Marlohe
  • Director: Victor Levin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: August 18, 2015
  • Run Time: 97 minutes


             As the narrative within 5 to 7 began to unfold, I found myself marveling at the various aspects of filmmaking: the dialogue written by Victor Levin was snappy and clever, which he was able to direct magnificently, utilizing the talent of his actors in a way that made the casting seem inspired. Initially, the only thing I did not love about Levin’s film was the plot. I have never been completely sold on the idealized passion of cinematic adultery, and found myself cringing as the two main characters made their way to the bedroom. It was also in the bedroom that 5 to 7 eventually won me over, choosing an old fashioned glamorous approach to the representation of romance over the indulgence of raw carnal desire. I can’t quite understand how a film which hardly shows the romantic leads in anything less than undergarments was given an R-rating, because it is the intentionally mild sentimentality which causes the film to stand apart from most modern romance.


            Somehow this simplicity of innocent romance is applied to the story of an affair between a young aspiring writer and the glamorous wife of a French ambassador. Brian (Anton Yelchin) manages to live in Manhattan, despite having no job and an inability to sell any of his writing. The problem with his stories seems to come from a lack of personal experience, and filmgoers will be able to instinctually predict that his relationship with Arielle (Bérénice Marlohe) will be the inevitable source of his success as a writer.


            Levin is best known for producing “Mad Men,” and perhaps that is where the inspiration for his glamorous approach to romance comes from, especially in the portrayal of Arielle. What doesn’t come across in his screenplay, despite the spectacularly witty dialogue and committed performances, is any understanding of the sophisticated Arielle’s attraction to the spoiled entitlement of an upper crust twenty-something boy. Even though Yelchin gives a committed and fairly charming performance, I was never entirely sold on the pairing between these two.


            The biggest problem with 5 to 7 can be forgiven if the audience is willing to accept the romance without thinking about it too much about the glaring issues with the protagonist. Aside from the over-used choice of making Brian a struggling writer, this narrating lead is a bit confounding. Though his parents played wonderfully by Glenn Close and Frank Langella appear to be ‘salt of the earth’ types, Brian doesn’t seem to struggle for his dreams as much as he appears to have countless hours to spend on an affair while he waits for fortune to come his way. He is an unpublished author living in a moderately small apartment in Manhattan, but always seems to dress just a bit too stylish for his status and there is no urgency in his need for success. Whether this was just Hollywood glamour requiring suspension of disbelief from the audience or a contradiction of characteristics, it left the film feeling uneven in comparison to the clarity of Arielle’s character. It feels more like the fantasy of an idealized romance than the reality of one, but somehow that is also the film’s strongest asset. This would have been a different film with a more mature actor, though I don’t necessarily know if this would have been better for what Levin was attempting to accomplish.


            The DVD release includes a making-of featurette and a trailer.


    Entertainment Value: 9/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 7.5/10

    Historical Significance:  6/10

    Special Features: 3/10

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