Webdultery @ Montreal World Film Festival

Films with dysfunctional couples (Blue Valentine, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Twilight series, Revolutionary Road) have been all the rage over the past couple of years.  There’s something we love about watching a couple fall apart.  The more painful the better, it seems.  In this film by Canadian director Charles Wahl features a couple who have drifted so far apart that they turn to the internet to find people to commit adultery with.

Having met, gotten married and had a son, Jack (Evan Gilchrist), when they were quite young, Fred (Anthony Cortese) and Deb (Christine Tizzard – Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost) are going through a rough patch in their marriage.  Fred, who is a writer, has decided to quit his job as a magazine and finish his novel.  In other words, he is not bringing any money home.  The breadwinning has fallen to Deb, who co-owns a company that is on the verge of taking off.  She is working long hours and comes home only to fall into bed dead tired.  Obviously sex is not something that happens very often.

On top of the death of their sex life, communication between the two has gone out the window as Fred feels ignored and Deb feels Fred is being selfish staying home to write rather than going out and working.  Frustration is mounting on both sides.

Both want more out of their relationship and are not getting it.  Both crave a connection.  So both, without the other knowing, turn to the internet and dating/adultery sites to find people to have sexual relationships with.  Fred just wants some sex while Deb would like to feel the excitement of getting to know someone new.  Both will be shocked when they end up meeting the person they have been chatting with who they believe to be perfect for them.

As the two leads are not really talking to one another the actors have to rely on facial expressions (usually frustration and sadness) and body language to communicate what their characters are feeling.  Even when they are trying to find someone to connect with online they are silent, but there is no missing their sense of despair.

The film uses both drama and comedy in the telling of the story of Fred and Deb.  Both are used effectively.  The humour, especially that of Deb’s brother O’Keefe (Kevin Kincaid), is usually of the crass and juvenile variety, but still breaks up the dreariness of the failing marriage and turning to adultery websites.

As it is a Canadian production we all know that the budget isn’t huge on this film.  Filmed in Toronto, at times it does suffer from some awkward editing and low production values, but don’t let that stop you from seeing the film as it isn’t without merit.

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