Home / Film / Film Reviews / Third Person

Third Person

Three Cities, Three Stories

Jul. 9, 2014
Google plus Linkedin Pinterest
Feature films with multiple stories in multiple places, yoked together under some common theme or other: It’s an idea as old as silent movies and the result has seldom been fully satisfying.

Witness Third Person, the latest essay in interlocking vignettes from Paul Haggis, director of the Oscar-winning Crash. Multiple stories are his shtick, and he crams three into Third Person, along with three cities and three sets of characters. Eventually the New York tale of a flummoxed, possibly unfit mother (Mila Kunis) converges with a superstar painter (James Franco), the father of her child. Meanwhile in Paris, Liam Neeson makes sad faces as the Pulitzer Prize-winning author carrying on a romantic-erotic tango with a young protégé (Olivia Wilde) in a story better suited for a mediocre ’70s art house film.

Come to think of it, Third Person is reminiscent of just that sort of thing—polished and aspiring to art with several super cinematic moments, above-average casting and lovely scenic backdrops papering over a hallow center of nothing special. The most interesting of Third Person’s stories is set in Rome and features Adrien Brody with his wonderfully seen-that-already face. His interest in an exotic beauty (Moran Atias) who sails into a bar like a clipper at full sail leads to a descent into the underworld as he is drawn into helping her ransom her kidnapped child. Children, absence and distance are the recurring themes; communication conducted long distance leads to frustration and several smashed or ruined smart phones.

The Brody story might have made a good film if developed on its own; the Neeson strand is hopeless and Kunis’ tale is fit for the Lifetime channel. A few good moments of cross-editing help weave the stories together visually, but do nothing to make them memorable.


Would white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan pose the same threat they do now if a mainstream Republican were president instead of Donald Trump?

Getting poll results. Please wait...