EIFF Review: The Correspondence (La corrispondenza)

Jeremy Irons and Olga Kurylenko may not be the actors you expect to lead a romantic mystery drama, but writer-director Giuseppe Tornatore manages to convey this with some conviction in La corrispondenza (The Correspondence). This lavish piece may require a suspension of disbelief, but if willing to embrace this it is a delicate and quietly touching affair.

Professor Ed Phoerum (Irons) and astrophysics student/stuntwoman Amy (Kurylenko)'s six year love affair is cut short when Ed makes a shock disappearance. Although Ed and Amy are no longer physically together, the correspondence continues through an elaborately constructed message, video and lettering system.

Tornatore crafts a classic aesthetic filled with evocative architecture - thanks to the beautiful Edinburgh and rural Italian locations both perfectly befitting of the elegant and poetic tone of The Correspondence. It's through this evocative tone and aesthetic that we can forgive Tornatore's narrative for its off-kilter curiosities - for example the almost magical elaborate system that Ed sets up to remain in contact with Amy, the fact that Ed - an esteemed Professor - texts with emojis and "LOLs" or the fact that Amy is a straight A astrophysics student and a gifted stuntwoman. It's all a little strange and inauthentic, but Tornatore plays everything so straight and earnestly that it's easy to get behind this tale and allow yourself to invest emotionally.

A lavish score from Ennio Morricone helps us to further invest in the romantic mystery of The Correspondence, but much praise should go to the film's leads. Irons drops his expected steely coldness instead conveying Ed's loving, paternal and sentimental sides - especially seen in the lengths that the character goes to keep his romance alive. Irons truly charms in this role filled with a self-reflective pathos and sweet energy. Kurlyenko delivers her most dramatically-heavy turn thus far as the woman balancing grief and frustration as she fights to understand the sudden change in her life. Kurylenko's steady performance binds the narrative together - particularly when Irons is reduced to voice-over or internal video.

The final twenty minutes can feel somewhat laboured in the desire to wrap-up all loose ends, but The Correspondence remains an elegant and quietly touching watch. Tornatore crafts his film with a real passion and poetic beauty, gorgeously performed by Irons and Kurylenko.


Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Stars: Jeremy Irons & Olga Kurkylenko

Review 6976020125891024688
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