Writer/director Anne Fontaine has built a reputation littered with acclaim for her challenging, female-fronted dramas like the erotic thriller Nathalie… (on which the better known Julianne Moore/Amanda Seyfried vehicle Chloe was based) and the Academy Award-nominated biopic Coco Before Chanel. But for her follow-up to the French rom-com My Worst Enemy, Fontaine is doubling down on risk. Not only is Adore Fontaine's English-language debut, but also it's a drama about female friendship that tackles some seriously shocking sexual taboos.
Based on Doris Lessing's novel Grandmothers, Adore stars Naomi Watts and Robin Wright as two long-time friends who face an unusual threat to their bond. Roz (Wright) and Lil (Watts) have always had each others' backs as their respective marriages faces hard times, and their sons grew up. But one hot, sultry summer in an Australian seaside town, boundaries of propriety are crossed when Lil's teen son (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse's Xavier Samuel) makes a move on Roz. Soon, the two are sleeping together, but things get even more complicated when Roz's son (Animal Kingdom's James Frecheville) finds out and proposes some eye-for-eye styled revenge. Despite all odds, could these two women find happiness bedding each other's sons?
This is the kind of scandalous and outrageous behavior you can see on rowdy talk shows like Jerry Springer. But Adore doesn't look to be a sleazy melodrama that would play well on Lifetime. Instead, Fontaine seems to want to mine the ways love can sometimes become twisted. Watching the trailer above—which you can see in hi-res at Apple—I'm reminded of Alfonso Cuarón's Y Tu Mama Tambien or Alfred Hitchcock's Rope, in which two friends' emotions for each other run so deep and passionate that they are ultimately expressed through a surrogate third party - for better or worse. Noticeably, neither of those movies expressed female-to-female love. Fontaine is charting less traversed terrain. And she's pulled together an incredible team to do it.
Adore's adapted screenplay was penned by Christopher Hampton, who has previously scripted such celebrated adaptations as Atonement, A Dangerous Method, and Dangerous Liaisons, which won him an Academy Award in 1989. From the praise peppered throughout the film's latest trailer, it seems he's managed another success here, thanks in part to the outstanding performances said to be offered by lauded leading ladies Watts and Wright. With these two fearless actresses on board, we expect nothing less than something daring and brilliantly performed. Now we just have to wait until September 6th, when Adore comes to theaters and iTunes.
In the meantime, you can get a glimpse at more of Adore's setup and darker moments with a trailer released earlier this year, when it was still called Two Mothers. Warning: this one is NSFW: