My rating: 9
IMDB rating: 6.5
You know that pause after you watch a movie with a couple of friends when no one wants to say anything for the fear of being the only one that liked the movie? Well this movie I absolutely loved and the pause was very short-lived as all my friends loved the movie as well. Coming home, though, I discovered that we were probably the only four people on the planet who loved this brutally honest, yet soul-searchingly deep film…
The first thing I loved about this movie was both Olivia Wilde and the character that she portrays. Anna is a very complex, very intense, beautiful, jealous, ambitious and ambiguous character that you cannot help but love, then hate, then pity and lastly understand. A deliciously complicated role that Wilde tackles head on!
The second thing that intrigued me, and this became clearer to me as we discussed it afterwards, was the duplicitous meaning of the title. Throughout the film emphasis is placed on ‘third person’ in a literary sense and for a normal viewing this description fits. But when searching deeper another meaning of ‘third person’ is highlighted as it becomes clear that in each of the relationships that Michael is either in or creates fictionally, a third person is involved. Anna is the third person between him and his wife, between Monika and Scott, Carlo steps in as the third person. Between Rick and his son Jesse, his mother Julia is the third person and vice versa in this case.
Sometimes it is not even a person that comes between these characters, but the almost inhumane loneliness that lies at the base of all these characters abjection. All these characters, by being a fragment of Michael’s self, share his innate loneliness that drives him and therefore them. This loneliness even causes him to distance himself from Anna as he chooses fame over her love by writing down her story.
The self is a very important facet in this film and the nature of the autobiographical writer and his narratives are explored by this unique blending of both fact and fiction. What I mean by this is that, while Michael is writing fiction by inventing characters and settings, he adds a certain amount of fact by adding little parts of himself, of what happened to him and of the woman he loved.
While some of the characters that Michael creates contain a certain amount of ‘wishful’ thinking the remaining characters and their situations are brutally honest. Such brutal honesty begs for honest acting, and for me all the actors stepped up to the challenge. A truly amazing film- definitely a must-see!
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