Review by Lauryn Angel
The latest film from Wim Wenders is the story of Tomas (James Franco), a writer struggling with a lot of things. He has writer’s block and can’t move forward on his latest novel. He doesn’t want children, so his relationship with Sara (Rachel McAdams) can’t move forward either. In frustration, he drives aimlessly in a snowstorm, looking for inspiration. There is an accident, and Tomas is relieved to find that he narrowly missed hitting a young boy on a sled. But the relief is short-lived. When Tomas takes the boy to his mother, Kate (Charlotte Gainsbourg) in a nearby farmhouse, he discovers that there were two boys.
For the remainder of the film, Tomas struggles with guilt over the incident. The film jumps forward several times, and each time we see that he has moved forward with his life — he’s published several successful books, formed a new relationship, adopted a child. But he never really moves on. Part of this is due to the reoccurring presence of Kate and her surviving son, Christopher, in his life.
James Franco’s performance is earnest, but Tomas is too repressed, too buttoned-up to really be a sympathetic character. Franco is almost wooden in the role, and his supporting cast isn’t much better. Part of the problem is that most of the supporting cast isn’t given much to do. Rachel McAdams delivers her lines in a strange accent (French, I think? It’s difficult to tell because I’m not entirely sure where the movie is set) but Sara is not in the movie enough for her character to really develop. Charlotte Gainsbourg’s Kate gets more screen time, but even she doesn’t have much to do.
Although the film covers a span of twelve years in just under two hours, those hours drag along. The film is a rather tedious melodrama, which is a shame.