Married Life- Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, Rachel McAdams

Married Life Poster July 25, 2013: Media updated

Nov 12, 2008: Reviews
DVD reviews added

Sept 2: Selected for The Deauville Film Festival (Sept 5-14) Sept 6 & 7

May 7: Selected for The Edinburgh International Film Festival (June 18-29) & The Sydney Film Festival (June 4-22 )

Feb  28- April 11:  Clips & interviews added to Media. Reviews & Articles

Feb  14: Selected for the Miami International Film Festival (Feb 28-March 9) on Feb 29
Feb 7-13: Trailer online and Official Site goes live.  Reviews, Articles & Media updated.
January 4- Feb 5:  New Official production stills added to the Gallery.  Press Kit added to Articles.
December 12-20:  According to Variety the U.S. release date is March 7, 2008 (NYC/LA).  Preliminary website up at Sony Classics: Married Life.  Gallery updated with 2 photos.
November: Chosen for the Gala section of the Dubai International Film Festival (Dec 9-16) on Dec 15.
Sept 18-24: Hollywood Reporter: Sony Pictures Classics commits to 'Married'  (9-18-07); Sony pulls Married Life from Woodstock Film Festival
Sept 12- Oct 13: Reviews & Articles added from the TIFF & NYFF  Media: Interviews with Cooper & Clarkson, Rachel McAdams, & Ira Sachs added. NYFF audio interview. Gallery: TIFF premiere photos.  Zoom In - In The Circuit: Keith Uhlich interviews Ira Sachs
Sept 18-24: Hollywood Reporter: Sony Pictures Classics commits to 'Married'  (9-18-07); Sony pulls Married Life from Woodstock Film Festival
Sept 4: Two large production photos added to Gallery. Married Life at the NYFF on Sept 29 (3:30pm) & Sept 30th (6:45pm) at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Lincoln Center.   Selected as a Centerpiece for the Woodstock Film Festival.   Selected for Brazil's Festival do Rio (Sept 20-Oct 4) on Sept 21 & 22.
August 15-23:   Accepted for the 45th New York Film Festival, taking place Sept 28 - October 14 added to Special Presentations at the TIFF.
August 9 -28:  According to Pierce, Married Life will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12th (6 PM) & 14th (9:15am).
July 7 -17:  Articles update.  Gallery updated with photos from older Variety article. End Credits, Waltz, Bathtub & Harry Speeds Home from the Married Life score are available at composer Dickon Hinchliffe's site.  Married Life mentioned as Toronto International Film Festival (Sept 6 -15, 2007).
Feb 23: Articles,  Gallery update. Title Change from Marriage
Sept 14- Nov 23:  Articles, Cast, Links & Gallery
Aug 4- 22:  Articles, Links, Cast & Gallery
June 20- July 22: Articles, Cast, Links & Schedule 

House Next Door: On The Circuit:  Motivations are constantly being re-examined in Married Life, though Sachs never privileges one point of view over another. No one character has every single piece of this puzzle; even Brosnan’s narrator, who vanishes for one elegantly long stretch of time to let various events take their course, seems in the dark more often than not, and ultimately admits to the pleasures and necessities of such uncertainty. (“Whoever in this room knows what goes on in the mind of the person sleeping next to you, raise your hand,” he says to aether and audience alike at the film’s climax. “I know you can't.”) This is the crucial difference between Sachs and Bingham’s points-of-view: the unknown, to this great and gifted filmmaker, is not a destructive concept, but a sustaining one, the very thread that tethers our human race one to another, in pure and impure purpose alike. Or, as Richard simply puts it over the film’s sublime final image (a live-action, screen-within-a-screen pantomime of “married life”): “Funny isn't it? What we do for love.” — Keith Uhlich

Entertainment Weekly:  I was seduced by Ira Sachs' Married Life, a little beauty set in well-mannered 1949, which has fun with bad behavior among attractive cheaters. (Starring Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, and Rachel McAdams, the road to mischief is deliciously acted.) — Lisa Schwarzbaum

Chicago Sun Times:  Pierce Brosnan is becoming a whole new actor in my eyes, after this film, The Matador, Evelyn and The Tailor of Panama. It's a kiss of death to play James Bond, but at least it gives you a chance to reinvent yourself. Chris Cooper reinvents himself in every film; can this be the same actor from "Adaptation"? Here he seems so ... respectable. Rachel McAdams does a nice job of always seeming honest and sincere, even when she makes U-turns, but Patricia Clarkson, as always, has a few surprises behind that face that can be so bland, or scornful, or in between. Still house wives run deep.  There is so much passion in this story that it's a wonder how damped down it is. Nobody shouts. And we discover that Harry is not the only person in the story who can surprise us. — Roger Ebert

New York Magazine:  In Married Life, Ira Sachs ... obliterates his target: The funny, the scary, the campy, the sad—they’re all splendidly of a piece. The movie is a goof on Hitchcock and Sirk—a period (late forties) soap opera with nasty sexual undertones and the omnipresent threat of murder. The narrator, a Lord of Misrule, is Pierce Brosnan, who can play a too-handsome cad and convincingly parody one—everything rolls off him. But his best friend, the protagonist, is played by Chris Cooper, off whom nothing rolls: Sour, saggy, quivering with repressed longing, always a step away from implosion, Cooper straddles the comedy-melodrama border and keeps you both giggly and tense. His scary switchback emotional roller-coaster ride has nothing to do with the real world. The movie is written from a male perspective—the women are projections—and wouldn’t work without the gorgeous Clarkson, neurasthenic one instant and the next the very image of sensual feline self-containment.  — David Edelstein

Slate: As a four-person chamber piece, Married Life is dependent on the strength of its players, and everyone delivers. Pierce Brosnan, who's less Remington Steele and more Cary Grant with every passing year, sets the tone with his feather-light voice-over narration and perfectly tuned performance as a lifelong playboy trying, and failing, to remain above the fray. Chris Cooper has a ball with his first role in years that doesn't require him to bark orders or investigate crimes; I'd almost forgotten how subtle an actor he can be. Rachel McAdams emits her usual irresistible glow. And Patricia Clarkson, who could discover hidden dimensions of character while playing a sheep in a Christmas pageant, makes reading in bed next to a bottle of digestive powder seem like a smolderingly fascinating activity.— Dana Stevens

Premiere:A collection of Hitchcock character-types trample over each other to win at love in Married Life, a quirky but entertaining period murder farce from Ira Sachs.... Rounding out the quartet is Richard Langley, Harry's best friend who, despite a last name that implicates him as a center of intrigue, is more of a gregarious mug-lifter in the mold of Cary Grant. It's this performance, Pierce Brosnan's best since Bond, that sells the film's retro-cool more than any other, giving us scenes like the one where Langley only increases his chances with a gal by blowing cigarette smoke in her direction as they flirt. Precision casting is a necessity for a specialty film like this and Sachs never steps wrong — Ryan Stewart 

Pegasus News: In the world of Ira Sachs' marvelously elegant and atmospheric Married Life, guys wear fedoras and drive massive, curvy Detroit-built cars. To its credit, Ira Sachs' romantic period piece of a film never settles into a comfortable formula - we can't tell for a long time whether it's going to be a light-hearted comedy, a murder-plot-gone-wrong noir thriller or a twisted-ending mystery. When it turns out to be none of these (while exhibiting traits of them all), we are left instead with a reflective, mildly melancholic slice of worldly-wise life whose message about the vagaries and resiliency of relationships rings true and timeless. — John P. Meyer

San Francisco Chronicle: It's strange. It's different. It's arresting, and it's definitely intentional. Ira Sachs knew what he wanted to do, and he's a talent worth watching. —  Mick LaSalle 

Newsday:  [The] four principal actors are such worthy vehicles for sustaining the throbbing pace and shifting moods of this chamber piece that it's difficult to single anyone out.— Gene Seymour

New York Daily News:  It's a sly little fable with at least six very obvious homages to Alfred Hitchcock thrillers, and a dark little heart that happily hides under a double-breasted suit. This subtle dance around morality is as seductive as the elegantly designed rooms it takes place in, where even the shadows are cozy.  Brosnan, whose character provides the noir-ish voice-over, strikes the perfect note for director Ira Sachs' adaptation of a 1987 pulp novel, "Five Roundabouts to Heaven." Since leaving James Bond behind, Brosnan's become looser and more droll than 007 ever allowed, in The Matador, the little-seen Seraphim Falls and now Married Life. The way he distractedly flicks ash from his pants leg while figuring out the postcoital situation he's stumbled upon is a miracle of wry gesture. — Joe Neumaier 

New York Observer: Stylish without being overly stylized, intelligent without being boring, Married Life is a classy throwback to the good old days when subtlety meant something at the movies and watching Hitchcock was a good reason to stay home. Rex Reed 

Washington Post:  Married Life is an engaging romance noir, a sort of updated "The Postman Always Rings Twice" that packs its surprises into four characters, none of them predictable. — Desson Thomson

Seattle Times:  Sachs has assembled a stellar ensemble cast, and much of the pleasure of Married Life is watching the subtle detail the actors bring to their roles. All of Cooper's lines seem precisely rehearsed and meticulous, because Harry is exactly that kind of man. Clarkson's Pat is a very specific and unusual blend of wryness and fragility; there's a lovely moment where she sits, alone, having dinner at a perfectly set table. Brosnan exudes a Cary Grant-ish bonhomie, while McAdams is both dainty and knowingly sexy. (Watch how she casually — or not-so-casually — removes a cigarette ash from her tongue. She knows you're watching.) — Moira Macdonald

Seattle Post Intelligencier: It's all quite deftly played with a maturity and introspection that may take you by surprise.... Married Life  begins as a social satire but shifts into a provocative conversation about our definitions and expectations of happiness in love and marriage, and challenges us to draw our own conclusions about what makes a happy ending. — Sean Axmaker

Time Out (London):   A more enjoyable throwback, Ira Sachs’s superb, 1949-set comedy Married Life takes the Preston Sturges–style premise of a philandering husband (Chris Cooper) who’d rather murder his wife (Patricia Clarkson) than see her unhappy and turns it into a parable about the compromises of marriage. — Ben Kenigsberg

New York Times:  Ira Sachs’s cynical excursion into 1940s unhappiness with Married Life, which features top-notch performances from Patricia Clarkson, Chris Cooper, Rachel McAdams and especially Pierce Brosnan. Few actors play cads as persuasively as Mr. Brosnan — more, more! — Manohla Dargis

Time Out (New York):   We’re not exactly ruining Ira Sachs’s absorbing, late-1940s-set domestic drama by revealing that married life has its drawbacks. Sexual frustrations take their toll on a tight group of friends (Chris Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, cock-of-the-walk Pierce Brosnan) fortified with more martinis and lit cigarettes than an entire season of Mad Men. But the underlying grace of the film, adapted from a John Bingham novel, comes from its revision of stock scenarios into honest emotional material. There’s frank talk, a little poisonous revenge, even forgiveness. Maybe married life ain’t that bad.— Joshua Rothkopf

New York Film Festival:  Ira Sachs' wonderfully clear-eyed comedy relocates British crime novelist John Bingham's Five Roundabouts to Heaven to the Pacific Northwest in the late 1940s. Harry (Chris Cooper) is dissatisfied with his marriage to Pat (Patricia Clarkson) and has found love with Kay (Rachel McAdams), who immediately attracts the attention of Harry's womanizing friend Richard (Pierce Brosnan). Meanwhile, Harry, in order to spare Pat the humiliation of being left, is inspired to take drastic measures. Married Life is a beautifully rendered piece of period Americana and a perfectly acted four-hand roundelay. It is also a wisely comic and at times harrowing look at the pitfalls and pathologies of marriage.

Toronto International Film Festival: The setting is post-war America. As stringent moral codes begin creeping back into private life, members of the upper and middle classes must begin to be careful. But caution can always be overcome by beauty and charm, and this is the theme of Married Life, a stylish, sophisticated drama starring some of the most accomplished actors working today.

Ira Sachs’s third feature is the devilish story of two men driven to villainy by their desire for one woman. Nebbishy Harry Allen (Chris Cooper) is a sentimental fool of a certain age. He has fallen head over heels in love with a beautiful and soulful blonde named Kay (Rachel McAdams), whose husband disappeared during the war; he spoils her unashamedly. The only problem is that Harry is married to the smart and sensual Pat (Patricia Clarkson), who sees herself as his keeper. Too cowardly to upset her by breaking things off for Kay – Pat begins hyperventilating when he even hints at the gulf between them – Harry soon settles on a drastic means of ending the marriage without causing his wife any undue suffering.

Meanwhile, Harry’s good chum Rich (Pierce Brosnan) is plagued by jealousy. He visits Kay when Harry is out of town, and is nagged by the question of what a gorgeous catch like Kay is doing with boring and crusty old Harry. Soon he is out-and-out competing with his friend for Kay’s affections and engaging in some substantial scheming of his own. He even discovers a precious secret of Pat’s that the increasingly unpredictable Harry may want to know. Brosnan’s Rich, also serving as narrator, wryly comments on the amorous goings-on around him.

With a seeping sense of the gravity of Harry’s plans, the film takes on a noirish shade, teasing out this tortured man’s guilt and obsession. As the tension level rises, the cast adeptly handles all the deceptions that begin to pile up. The transformation that McAdams’s Kay undergoes over the film is particularly superb. Cooper, meanwhile, hides a whirlwind of emotions behind Harry’s seemingly placid and noble demeanour, a perfect illustration of the masks we all wear to obscure our true intentions – particularly in love.  — Noah Cowan 

Filmed  in Vancouver:  July 21- Aug 23 & Oct 4-26, 2006
U.S:  Sony Pictures Classics  Release Date:  March 7,  2008
(subject to change)
Runtime: 90 min  /  Format: Colour & 35mm /  US: PG-13; Canada: 14A

Created:  June 20, 2006
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Updated: July 25, 2013

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