Review of Perfect Sense

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Ewan McGregor & Eva Green star in a romantic drama film about a chef and scientist who fall in love as an epidemic begins to rob people of their sensory perceptions.
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Movie Review: "Perfect Sense"

-- Rating: R (Sexuality and Nudity)
Length: 92 minutes
Release Date: Aug. 26, 2011
Directed by: David Mackenzie
Genre: Drama, Romance, and Sci-Fi

Movie critics have described "Perfect Sense" as a romantic film with a science-fiction subplot. While this description is not too far off the mark, it is nevertheless a gross oversimplification. "Perfect Sense" (formerly called "The Last Word") was written by Kim Fupz Aakeson and directed by David Mackenzie.

The story of the film revolves around Michael (portrayed by Ewan McGregor) and Susan (portrayed by Eve Green), who fall in love as a sensory epidemic strikes the world. Michael is the chef, while Susan is the doctor. Patients who are stricken by the epidemic start crying uncontrollably before losing their sense of smell. Loss of other senses such as taste, sight, and hearing soon follow. Epidemic movies are a dime a dozen, and some of the most recent ones include "Blindness" and "Contagion." "Perfect Sense," however, differs slightly from the others because the epidemic itself is not given prominence. It is the relationship between the different characters that seem to be the focus, primarily that between Michael and Susan.

The action takes place in Glasgow. Michael has a restaurant with its backdoor opening into an alley, and Susan lives in an apartment overlooking this same alley. When Michael tries to pick her up brazenly, he is a bit surprised to see his coquettishness work. The surprise is only brief, however, because he finds himself strongly attracted to her aloof approach to sex, which is markedly different from his own views of sex.

A short while after the beginning of the epidemic, doctors realize that nobody is immune to it, and nothing seems to cure it. The epidemic affects individuals and businesses in different ways. For example, Michael fears that his business will suffer because of people losing their sense of smell and, as a result, their desire to eat.

The relationship between the characters is well built. For example, Michael is portrayed as a charming but scruffy cook. Susan, on the other hand, is a good-looking and preposterous doctor. The two lovers are almost opposites, but they must learn to respond to each other's less-desirable habits just as the world must learn how to deal with the epidemic.

Although the movie is arguably original, it doesn't closely resemble other movies in this category. Mackenzie manages to create a believable romance between an unlikely couple without assuming or relying on the friendliness of the audience. This is an approach that many movie directors would not be bold enough to take.
The story is plausible because, just like the characters are flawed, human beings are also flawed. Some might argue that it could have been easier to make the characters perfect, but that would have resulted in the movie's loss of credence. The manner in which the story is told is a better reflection of humanity. The movie uses a series of montages to portray the spread of the disease over time.
Eva Green gives an impressive performance as an honest but obviously flawed medical scientist. The acting and the shots, which include scenes from countries such as Kenya and Mexico, are great. "Perfect Sense" is a beautifully shot poetic romance with lacings of end time tribulations, and it has an intellectual side to it that many viewers will be able to relate to.

"Perfect Sense" has good emotional scenes. The growing relationship between the two is laced with good-natured naughtiness, but this does not fail to protect them from an impending dread and heartbreak. There is a lot going for this movie, in general. The cast members are talented, and the story is credible and intriguing.
Mackenzie, a Scottish movie director, has been involved in several films including "You Instead" in 2011, "Spread" in 2009, and "Young Adam" in 2003, among others. Green, a French model and actress, who was initially involved in acting in theatre, made her movie debut in 2003 in the film "The Dreamers." Thereafter, she has appeared in different movies including "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Casino Royale." She was awarded the BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2006. Her costar, McGregor, is a Scottish actor who has acted in art house, indie, and mainstream films alike. Many people will remember his portrayal of Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel trilogy "Star Wars." Everything considered, "Perfect Sense" was perfectly cast.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars