New Yorker Reviews HUMANITAS Winner Paul Haggis' 'Third Person'

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Third-Person-MainIn Paul Haggis’s new movie, “Third Person,” Anna (Olivia Wilde), a go-getting New York journalist, is having an affair with Michael (Liam Neeson), a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist in a funk. In a darkened room in a posh Paris hotel, he tries, with diminishing confidence, to finish writing a book. He flies Anna over, and they taunt each other, make love, play complicated erotic games. They’ve been carrying on this way for two years—fighting keeps the affair alive. Neeson, now sixty-two, is recognizably stalwart—tough-tender and imposing—and it’s a pleasure to see him acting with a woman after so many fantasy characters and man-alone genre movies. The revelation is Wilde. A slender beauty with high cheekbones, she makes Anna a full-fledged neurotic, candid and demanding and changeable, shifting abruptly from snuggling happiness to angry defiance. At one point, after Michael locks a naked Anna out of his hotel room, she races down the hallway to her own room and falls into bed laughing. Wilde’s Anna seems to have no center, but that’s the point. She’s harboring guilty secrets, as is Michael, and Haggis’s insight in this movie is that guilt doesn’t make people sodden or reclusive. On the contrary, it makes them frantically alive, seeking to grab something they’ve missed.

Read more at the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2014/06/23/140623crci_cinema_denby