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Married Life

Mid-century infidelity dramedy is pretty to look at, but lacks spark

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Bored middle-aged Harry (Chris Cooper), rather than put his loyal wife Pat (Patricia Clarkson) through a painful divorce, decides to humanely poison her. Then, he can marry his beautiful young mistress, Kay (Rachel McAdams), who has also aroused the interest of Rich (Pierce Brosnan), a committed bachelor and Harry's best pal. Set in an unnamed U.S. city amid superb 1949 upper-middle-class period detail, Ira Sach's melodrama offers fine understated performances as well as nods to the Golden Age of stylized Hollywood domestic-crisis films a la Hitchcock, Sirk and Ray. Sachs buttresses this affair-of-the-heart feature with twists of thriller and sardonic comedy of manners. But where the story, with its stunning betrayals, ought to crackle and wound, Sachs' deliberateness and restraint add distance to what should be prime entertainment. Starts Fri., March 28. Manor (AH) [capsule review]

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