Married couples explore the boundaries of their friendship.
Antony Cordier’s FOUR LOVERS (2010) features two married couples who inadvertently decided to explore the limits of their friendships by exchanging spouses for what seemed to be a good idea in the beginning. However, their convenient situation quickly turned to jealousy, anger, and confusion. Other than their attractiveness, there isn’t much to the couples. Of course, viewers are privy to what they all do for a living: Rachel (Martina Foïs), a jeweler, and her husband Franck (Roschdy Zem), a writer and working on his latest book Feng Shui for Couples. They meet both Vincent (Nicolas Ducauchelle) a web designer, and his wife Teri (Elodie Bouchez) a former Olympic gymnast when Rachel needed advice on her business website.
Soon after that, they met for dinner and spoke about what they all did for a living when Franck offered a back massage to Vincent’s wife. It seems that all those years as a gymnast took its toll on her body. As Franck counted her vertebrae, they turned to kiss each other. When Vincent returned, Franck did not have a problem with telling him just what he did. It surprised me that Vincent did nothing but stared. Both men just stared at each other–maybe to affirm what was about to happen–there was no discussion of the topic nor were there any rules. It (the wife swap) just happened, and everyone was okay with it.
Between the couples, they are raising three kids, and I could not help but be a little concerned about them; seeing that the parents were too involved with one another and that the children could be seen as dejected ornaments outside the intimate relationships of their parents. If they were to remain entirely “out” of the story, then why are they there in the first place?
The nude sex scenes between the adults were intensely intimate. The cinematography revealed just how mesmerizingly beautiful the intimacy between two adults is, and can be. With each coupling, it revealed more about them individually–which beget the conflict. Although there were not rules to speak of, when Vincent happen upon his wife, and best friend together he became enraged. He began to wonder and asked his wife if she were happy with their arrangement–as she had asked the same of him. Never mind the minor details of who did what to whom–this just never was discussed–still you could sense just how curious they all were with each others’ other.
The real problem about Four Lovers is that you didn’t get any more from the film than what the sex scenes and the brief disagreements gave you–their frequent exposures resulted in a dull competition between both men and women when it was discovered that the opposite partner provided what their marital partnership did not.
Overall, Four Lovers is a mildly stimulating and polite film. Maybe the director was too afraid to delve deeper into the conflict that would have naturally occurred under less trivial circumstances involving extramarital affairs but didn’t.
I guess we all have to be content with not being satisfied.