the apocalypse is coming, and it’s not what you’d expect

in retrospect, it was the perfect sort of day for watching a horrifically depressing movie. it was grey, and raining, and cooler than it should be at the end of may. maybe that’s what made perfect sense as depressing as it was. or maybe it really was just the film itself.

ewan mcgregor as michael

perfect sense stars eva green as susan, an epidemiologist who has the bad luck of picking “assholes” for boyfriends. having just been dumped by one, she’s understandably reluctant to become involved with michael (ewan mcgregor), a chef at the restaurant across the alley from her flat. michael manages to charm her into dinner once, after having bummed a cigarette from her while she stares contemplatively out the window one day. but before she can embark on yet another tortured romance, she has to figure out what is causing the epidemic spreading all over the world: after a bout of uncontrollable grief, the sense of smell is lost, and it seems no one is immune.

when i say horrifically depressing, i mean it. i can’t imagine anything worse that losing your senses, one by one, never knowing if just because the person next you has been affected if you’ll be next, or if you have a few more precious days or weeks to hang on to them. the thing is, perfect sense has all the hallmarks of a great film. there are excellent performances by both mcgregor and green, a swift, tight pace, an interesting premise that doesn’t get bogged down or dragged off in a million different directions. and the story isn’t without its moments of hope; the people learn to adapt and find joy and pleasures in their other senses. the relationship between susan and michael isn’t tinged with a sense of urgency that might be brought by the world crumbling around them. instead, it develops in much the same way it would have without a worldwide epidemic.

i just can’t recommend this film, though. it was good, even great at times, and my taste in films usually runs to horribly depressing. but this is one of those rare times that i wish i could go back and not choose to see it. not because it was an hour and a half of my life wasted, but because it took far too long for my mood to return to an even keel. and that, my friends, is not a good thing.

perfect sense has no release date set.

*image via ifc films

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