I really, really wanted to like this film.
I just didn't.
But let's back up a bit.
Based on Doris Lessing's The Grandmothers, 'Adoration' explores the ramifications of two mothers, Roz and Lil (who are best friends) decide to engage in a sexual relationship with each other's teenage sons.
I know, I know - it doesn't sound promising but the summary of the film drew me in precisely because it was scandalous and provocative. Soapie plots don't necessary pave the way for terrible content. In fact, all I've learnt from recent TV that more often than not, more dramatic situations prioritise intricate characterisation, instead of relying entirely on the drama of the plotline. The film has some good acting going for it, but the way the plot moves forward falls flat. Besides, it seems also insulting the movie dealt with multiple taboo relationships rather than exploring the chemistry between the two mothers.
While Roz and Ian's relationship is rushed, it is grounded in something real. Roz has recently learned her husband has scored a life-changing job at Sydney University, and wants them to move from their idyllic seaside town to the big city. Roz is hesitant for a multitude of reasons - as she does not want to separate from her lifelong best friend, Lil, the de facto family she and her son have created here with Ian and Lil, and her seaside home, which allows her to live in a peaceful solitude. The potential upheaval makes Roz less careful, so when Ian kisses her - she goes for it. Perhaps it is rushed, but there is a truth in the way Roz would continue to forge connections in new ways, especially when she feels threatened it'll all be gone if she leaves. Ian apparently is attracted to her almost instantly, perhaps in ways not explained but I'll let it go because it's Robyn Wright.
It's the other sexual relationship of Lil and Tom which drags the entire story down. Their relationship is purely instinctual, as they reel from the discovery of the 'betrayal' of their best friends. Apparently, this relationship is the embodiment of 'if we can't beat 'em, join 'em.' Honestly though, it's hard to get past the irresponsibility of it all - Roz and Lil's claims that they don't want this to stop because they are happy makes me wonder if the reason they don't want to leave their unnamed small town is because there are literally no consequences for any action.
What is surprising is that the breakdown of Lil and Tom's relationship, after Tom falls in love with Mary, a theatrist Sydneysider - is that Roz, in the ultimate show of solidarity ends her relationship with Ian. Apparently, they take High School Musical's 'we're all in this together' to a whole new level, but honestly, why bother? The breakup hits Ian hard, blaming Roz for it all crumbling in because unlike Tom, he wants a future with Roz, rather than any girl 'his own age'.
After attempting to make Roz jealous at Mary and Tom's wedding, he attempts to commit suicide by swimming out to sea when Roz keeps her emotions bottled up and refuses to cave to her feelings. Roz genuinely believes that he deserves better and that she and Lil are meant to reclaim their roles as future grandmothers, and that it's possible to uncross that line. Everyone in this film is acts in a toxic manner, but Roz strengthens the film because her behaviour is rooted in something tangible - and it certainly helps her acting is killer. Unfortunately, that's not enough. That was last good thing to happen in this film. Ian's suicide attempt and need for rehabilitation leads him to kindle a relationship with Hannah, despite the fact he doesn't see a future with her. When he finally feels ready to end it, she reveals she's pregnant.
The movie comes full circle almost, as the movie returns to the beach where it all begun - except with new wives and children in tow. You'd almost think the film will have a happy ending, but nope. Apparently, Lil and Tom are trainwreck plot devices who continued to cheat and get caught out by a spiralling Ian - who in turn, accidentally reveals the truth to Mary and Hannah. Suddenly, there are consequences. All that's left of the dream of becoming grandmothers is the shattering silence - rather than the bustle of laughing children - when Tom returns to his childhood home to see the carnage it is created. What a shocker, he does not care. (Tom's the worst. At least Lil's connection may be rooted in a need to be wanted, even if not permanently.)
There are no more happy endings. Instead, it's like the last 4 years did not happen - as the illicit relationships restart - ignoring what has been lost. The film ends nearly where it begins, relaxing over the water once more - as the film poster highlights.
Unfortunately, while the characters lost nothing. (It seems dignity, integrity and a moral compass is absent from them all, to differing degrees. Plus, no one's sure how much they cared about the children they lost, except maybe Roz.) I, however, invested the 111 minutes into this film expecting some sort of payoff. All I got was pure frustration - and some gorgeous cinematography.