‘5 to 7’ an affair to remember 

Victor Levin's "5 to 7" is a writer's movie. Its main focus is on the things people say to one another, especially people who are in love or hope to be in love.

Levin, who was writer on TV’s “Mad Men” and the movie "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton,” spent eight years writing for "Mad About You," the 1990s sitcom detailing trials and tribulations of an intelligent married couple. He made his directorial debut on that show.

So "5 to 7" is about a couple that talks, and occasionally succumbs to passion, but then talks some more.

Levin is a good enough writer that true feelings come through among the words, and, for the most part, this movie is a fine achievement.

Brian Bloom (Anton Yelchin) is a New York writer, papering his walls with rejection notices.

By his own admission, he spends his days writing, reading or muttering to himself, until one day when he crosses the street, lights up a smoke and starts talking to Arielle (Bond girl Berenice Marlohe, from "Skyfall").

She responds and eventually invites him to meet her between 5 and 7 p.m. These are the hours in which respectable, married French women may have an affair. At first Brian balks at being someone's secret lover, but he eventually succumbs.

The union does him good. He is 24 and she is 33, but he becomes accepted as part of her family, and meets powerful, influential people. He publishes a story in The New Yorker, finds a full-time editor (Olivia Thirlby), and wins an award. But he wants more. He wants Arielle.

While the movie does not turn into a cheap romantic comedy in which love conquers all, it does acknowledge that Brian and Arielle are actually in love. Writer-director Levin shows how love can be messy and fleeting, yet quite beautiful and powerful.

The unassuming visuals showcase New York at night, in the rain, indoors and outdoors, all to moody, marvelous effect.

The characters — including Glenn Close and Frank Langella as Brian's parents — always seem to know exactly what to say, but also, Levin seems to know exactly where to place them when they say it.

The better movies are written, the more watchable they are. "5 to 7" is watchable, and wonderful.


5 to 7

Three stars

Starring: Anton Yelchin, Bérénice Marlohe, Olivia Thirlby, Glenn Close, Frank Langella

Written and directed by: Victor Levin

Rated R

Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

About The Author

Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jeffrey M. Anderson has written about movies for the San Francisco Examiner since 2000, in addition to many other publications and websites. He holds a master's degree in cinema, and has appeared as an expert on film festival panels, television, and radio. He is a founding member of the San Francisco Film Critics... more
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