“In Synonyms, the Search for Identity Does Not Lead to the Same Destination as the Search for Happiness”

 

I could write a whole essay* unspooling all of the various synonymous objects in Nadav Lapid’s excellent movie about an Israeli man desperate to shed his identity and put on a new French identity**; I’m not sure how far Lapid meant to take his central motif here, but his vision of Paris is practically built on synonyms. I only kinda sorta get at this in my review, entirely because I’m making an effort at trimming reviews down for punchier concision, but I’m amazed at how thoroughly Lapid carries out that theme through the movie.

Also amazed by Tom Mercier, the film’s lead, whose performance I also don’t really get at in the review, and which I don’t have a ton of time to get into here other than to say: He’s marvelous, and he’ll also probably be lost in the year-end shuffle in favor of a bad Joaquin Phoenix performance***. Whatever. Mercier rocks.

You can read my full review over at Paste Magazine.


*Hint hint, cough cough.
**Sort of like how I shed my old clothes after I lost 15 pounds and then put on my tighter ones, hey-ooooooo
***Because awards season just never gets it right.

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