Brief: Like Someone in Love
Like Someone in Love
Abbas Kiarostami pitched Like Someone in Love as a companion piece to his excellent 2011 film Certified Copy, and in many ways, this makes a lot of sense. While in that film the identity of the central characters was constantly shifting, creating a low-key mystery to underpin its central dialogue, this time out it is not the identity of the characters, but their emotional reality that remains ambiguous.

Those coming to the movie expecting a thought-puzzle like Certified Copy are likely to leave a bit disappointed. The sense of mystery that suffused that film is still present, but the same basic question is explored more abstractly here. Both films are about our inherent inability to ever truly know someone, but where the former made that lack concrete in its characters' unclear history, this film explores the same theme through the central trios' detachment from one another. Kiarostami is a lyrical director, who manages to wring emotional catharsis from even scenes steeped in ambiguity. An early sequence in which the film's central character Akiko (Rin Takanashi) listens to voicemails from her grandmother, who is waiting in vain for her to arrive, is as heartbreaking as it is beautifully shot, and while Tadahashi Okuno's lonely academic never lays out exactly what he is missing and what he hopes to gain, he imbues every solitary moment with the weight of years. The central conversations in Like Someone in Love aren't as compelling as those in Certified Copy, and its exploration of similar themes is simpler, though no less elegant. If forced to pick, I would easily say Certified Copy is the superior film, but Like Someone in Love is a beautiful, tragic, wondrous little movie nevertheless, another example of a great director letting loose a small-scale vision, writ large simply by how beautifully he captures every small moment, and how wonderfully he mines each subtle ambiguity for all its worth.

Read more of Jordan's Film Criticism here
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