Oscar winning writer/director Paul Haggis (“Crash”) has received attention for his thoughtful screenplays, but his “Third Person” is too dense and long to satisfy audiences. Interweaving multiple stories that compile the author character’s tragic story, the supplemental storytelling to his actual life veers too far away that the significance of his life events is lost. Rather than organizing a moral and lesson learned by the main character, the audience will be distracted trying to figure out how the other stories come together and may even laugh at the absurdity of a couple of events.
A well-known writer, Michael (Liam Neeson) is trying to accept blame but also release his guilt by writing about his son’s death; he feels through his novel’s characters and exposes his hidden faults while carrying on an affair with a younger woman, Anna (Olivia Wilde), who is afraid of commitment and is dealing with her own struggles. Meanwhile, he has abandoned his wife, Elaine (Kim Basinger), to struggle alone. In his novel, Julia (Mila Kunis) fights to see her son after an accident that has left her former lover, Rick (James Franco), an artist, with sole custody, and an American businessman in Italy, Scott (Adrien Brody), finds himself smitten with Monika (Moran Atias), a woman with ties to a criminal that demands money before releasing her daughter.
This huge cast does little for “Third Person;” the dialogue rings false and unnatural while the characters are limited to the actions that encompass them rather than fleshing them out. As representations of the writer’s life events, the supporting cast is utilized as steps to a greater whole rather than entities with their own souls. As Michael states, he’s feeling and acknowledging his own mistakes through the characters he writes, so the viewer needs to piece together how his life is involved in the stories being told, but their secrets are Michael’s secrets and their separate plots don’t represent as much as we like but get to corny extremes to boost emotion. “Third Person” stretches too long and slowly for such a brief event.
Rating for “Third Person:” C-
For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.
“Third Person” is only playing at AMC Lennox and Drexel in Columbus. For showtimes, click here.